On the highest hill in Richmond, Virginia, in the former capital of the Confederacy where the monuments have come down and the work for justice and equity continues, sits a place called Richmond Hill, a historic monastery and former site of enslavement. It occupies six of the original 32 plots when Richmond was formed in 1737. The Sisters of the Visitation of Monte Maria were here for 120 years, until 1987.
Today, Richmond Hill operates as an ecumenical urban retreat center with a racial reconciliation and healing mission. Thousands of people visit each year, but the full human story is just beginning to be told. Twelve white owners of this property enslaved at least 200 Black people between the 1730s and 1865. In our garden there is a “Dwelling of Enslaved Africans” dating to the 1840s or early 1850s. Richmond Hill is rehabilitating it and regenerating the once living and work space as a sacred place to lament, honor enslaved ancestors, acknowledge, dialogue, create, repair and heal. Where racial oppression in North America began is where it can end.
Richmond United States if America