Dear ladies and gentlemen:
I want to bring to your attention what I have been hearing form the citizens of Richmond in recent months about Schockoe Bottom. As a boy, I grew up in Church Hill, and my father would carry me down to the bottom, telling stories. I never dreamed that Richmond would eventually become so united making sure our history could be so openly, honestly and fully available to future
And when I speak of this history, I mean ALL THE HISTORY of Schockoe.
As you know, I pointed out last month the historic building at 14th and Broad Street, the former home of the First African Baptist Church, and how it needed to be rehabilitated to tell its full history. Since then, many people have called or contacted me to learn more about the history, sharing knowledge about other historical Schokoe matters previously unknown to me.
Where once there might have been a reluctance to learn, I believe now there is a passion to know it all. This is an American story and this tells me that a study and discussion could be abetted by the involvement of the public with the appointment of a group involving city and state representatives, including Richmond’s great universities and historians.
I am not unmindful of the fact that our Commonwealth is facing a big budget deficit; nor am I unmindful of my oft quoted maxim, “Funding Necessities before Niceties” is the by-word.
Accordingly, though we may have to wait, if that time is used in “getting it right” and supported by the public then it will have been time well spent.
There should be no reasons for there not to be concurrence that the full history be told correctly.
L. Douglas Wilder