To the editor:Last month, the Bristol Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Marker Committee convened a public meeting to present possible memorial sites and to gather information from citizens who were …
To the editor:
Last month, the Bristol Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Marker Committee convened a public meeting to present possible memorial sites and to gather information from citizens who were in attendance. We extend our thanks to Lynn Smith, from the Board of Linden Place, who gave a presentation citing the historic contributions made by descendants of Bristol's enslaved population and highlighting their businesses in the Bradford and Thames streets area.
Our group offered several potential sites for a memorial ranging from the Poppasquash area south toward Walley Beach. All sites were on public land, and all were cleared of any potential encumbrances in consultation with our town planner, Ed Tanner.
The tabulated consensus from the various sites was that the Independence Park area was most favored. There is a grassy area located away from the circular walkway in the park in the NW corner that appears to be a good location and would not in any way be an obstacle for the number of annual events happening at the park. The committee is looking forward to investigating this site further and will share our findings with the public. Our group also established a set of criteria for the memorial: that it be in a space that is visible and well-traveled, that it enhance the existing cultural diversity practices of Bristol, and that it honor enslaved people of both African and Indigenous ancestry, amongst others. The memorial will serve as an educational tool for all of us to learn about this part of Bristol’s history.
The committee will be scheduling a second public meeting for Thursday, Sept. 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the Bristol State House (240 High St.). All citizens and interested parties are invited to attend. At this meeting, we will work with the public to refine our plans in preparation for making a formal presentation to the Town Council, who at their March 2 meeting kindly offered their support for the project.
We expect to have a concrete location to present to the Council soon after this second public meeting and look forward to all public participation in this process.