Circle of the Diaspora


In 1991, a burial ground was discovered during the course of excavation to build a new federal courthouse. Most of the remains were exhumed, but more than 400 were ceremoniously reinterred in October 2003. This memorial commemorates the lives of 20,000 enslaved Africans who were laid to rest in the Civic Center area in the 17th and 18th centuries. It reads, "For all those who were lost / For all those who were stolen / For all those who were left behind / For all those who are not forgotten."The Circle of Diaspora, which is represented by the open ring in the memorial, has multiple symbols from various backgrounds that can be seen. Each design represent symbols of humanity. Walkthrough the monument and entering into the open ring, the symbols from left to right resemble the progression of the physical meanings to spiritual meanings as the granite floor gradually lowers itself to the cemetery underneath the memorial. The reason for the placement of each symbol on the memorial for the granite memorial represents a vessel. The memorial is open on the inside, representing a chamber of individual space, giving the visitors the opportunity for internalized reflection. As a memorial, the architects' goal is to show that the granite block that you first see as you pass by Broadway is much more than a solid large piece of rock, but a symbol of the thousands of different stories and lives that have been affected by the Middle Passage.

Constructed, 2006