Descendant of "12 Years A Slave" Subject Petitions Shockoe Botto - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

Descendant of "12 Years A Slave" Subject Petitions Shockoe Bottom Ballpark

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Linsey Williams of Fredericksburg says Solomon Northup, the subject of "12 Years A Slave," was her great great great great grandfather. Linsey Williams of Fredericksburg says Solomon Northup, the subject of "12 Years A Slave," was her great great great great grandfather.
RICHMOND (WRIC) - There's a new petition against putting a ballpark in Shockoe Bottom.

The woman who started it claims to be a descendant of Solomon Northup, the subject of the recent Oscar-winning film "12 Years A Slave."

The descendant is actually from Fredericksburg and she feels, like others opposed to it, that a ballpark doesn't belong where their descendants were once held in captivity.

"12 Years A Slave" is based on the true story of Solomon Northup and local historian Ana Edwards says part of his story involves the river city.

"That journey takes him right here to Richmond, into the heart of our slave trading district when it was at its height," she says.

Solomon Northrup writes that he was forced to spend time in Shockoe Bottom in a slave jail. And now those against the ballpark, feel that story and the success of the movie could further their cause.

That includes Linsey Williams of Fredericksburg, who says Northrup was her great great great great grandfather.

In her recent petition to Mayor Jones on Change.org, she feels a Shockoe Bottom ballpark makes Richmond's slave trade seem insignificant.

"I think it's important to preserve these areas so that people can have the opportunity to go back and have that connection with their ancestors that went through those difficult times," she says.

Williams says this is another way this debate could end up playing out on a national stage.

The layer upon layer upon layer by which this is a national story… It just keeps revealing itself," Edwards says.

Plans for a new ballpark are not official, but city officials are still looking at plans. An official vote could come in the early summer.


Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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