Dedicated on June 17th, 2022, the Burial Ground for Enslaved People at Monticello honors the final resting place of an estimated 40 enslaved people who lived and worked at this UNESCO World Heritage site. Our team worked in close collaboration with members of Monticello's descendant community, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation (TJF), and design partner HGA throughout the process. The newly improved site honors and protects the sacred ground providing a safe and peaceful place where the community of descendants can connect and reflect on this heritage while educating visitors about the history of enslavement at Monticello.
The design sensitively stitches the site into the larger Monticello landscape while providing a buffer from automobile traffic and parking. Pathways provide universal access and a gradual and atmospheric approach from the visitor center and others points surrounding. Circular benches are oriented in an embracing pattern around the burial ground, keeping the focus on the sacred site. A gate leads members of the descendant community to another arcing bench within the cordoned site. - a set-apart contemplative space designed for the exclusive use of descendant communities. The design amplifies the sanctity of the burial site while creating essential opportunities for remembrance and commemoration in the space.