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Barbados creating slavery museum after becoming a republic

Dedicated to the impact of slavery on Barbados, the Barbados Heritage District will be located at Newton Plantation.

barbados heritage district newton burial ground memorial

Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has announced the creation of the Barbados Heritage District, which will feature a memorial and museum, as well as a research institute.

Dedicated to the impact of slavery on Barbados, the world’s newest republic, the Barbados Heritage District will be developed at Newton Plantation outside the country’s capital Bridgetown.

British architect David Adjaye has been commissioned to design the destination. The first phase of the project is the memorial, serving as a space for remembrance and located at the Newton Slave Burial Ground.

Barbados Heritage District

Newton Plantation was excavated back in the 1970s. It is the largest and earliest slave burial ground discovered in Barbados, with the remains of 570 West African slaves uncovered on the site.

“Barbados is authentically enshrining our history and preserving the past as we reimagine our world and continue to contribute to global humanity. It is a moral imperative but equally an economic necessity,” Mottley said.

The research institute’s groundbreaking is set for November 30, 2022, the first anniversary of Barbados’ status as a parliamentary republic. The research institute will document Barbados’ ‘pivotal role as the harrowing portal through which millions of enslaved Africans were forced to the Americas’.

Design by David Adjaye

“Drawing upon the technique and philosophy of traditional African tombs, prayer sites and pyramids, the memorial is conceived as a space that contemporaneously honours the dead, edifies the living, and manifests a new diasporic future for Black civilization that is both of the African continent and distinct from it,” Adjaye said.

The Heritage District is being developed in partnership with the Prime Minister’s Office, the Barbados Archives Department, and the Barbados Museum and Historical Society.

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, an association that oversees a collection of Welsh museums, recently removed a portrait of slave owner Sir Thomas Picton from the National Museum Cardiff.

Images: Adjaye Associates

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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