Lupita Nyong’o Is Against Turning 12 Years a Slave Site Into Baseball Stadium

Lupita Nyong’o in 2014

Actress Lupita Nyong'o is adding her voice to those opposed to turning Richmond, Va.'s Shockoe Bottom—a site once known as the center of the slave trade—into a minor-league baseball stadium for the Richmond Flying Squirrels, the Associated Press reports.

The site, which was also used to film 12 Years a Slave, in which Nyong'o played a crucial role, once held more than 90 slave dealers and is also near a slave burial ground. According to AP, more than 300,000 men, women and children were imprisoned, bought and sold there.


Nyong'o, AP notes, has been taking to social media to voice her opposition and also wrote to Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones, asking him to withdraw his support for the development. "Evidence of America's slave history simply must be preserved, as the legacy of slavery affects all American people," she wrote in her Oct. 19 letter, according to AP.

Jones responded by inviting the actress to see Shockoe Bottom and the steps being taken to preserve its historic past. "Our plans show where we want to invest in that history and lift that history up for future generations to learn from," Jones said.

According to AP, the National Trust for Historic Preservation recruited Nyong'o for its campaign, calling Shockoe Bottom one of the "11 Most Endangered Historic Places."

"We see Shockoe Bottom as not just a state of Virginia treasure but a national treasure," trust President Stephanie Meeks told AP. "Much of what was there has been destroyed, and what is there is buried. We'd like to have a comprehensive archaeological exploration of this site."


As AP notes, the baseball stadium was just one part of a development proposal, which also included plans for a slavery museum, hotel and apartments.

Read more at the Associated Press.

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