Va. ballpark proposal stirs slave-trade memories
The stadium development has the support of many business owners in the Bottom. They believe it will make a destination of the area, which has scared away some city dwellers because of highly publicized incidents of violence. Business owners say the rowdiness is overstated.
Paul Goldman, the former chairman of the state Democratic Party, is seeking to take the decision about the development out of the hands of city officials through a petition drive to blunt or at least slow the project. He believes the existing stadium is just fine.
"How can you decide anything unless you know where the history is?" he asked. "They’ll just bulldoze the history."
For Edwards, the Bottom has a personal connection. She has traced some of her ancestors to the slave trade there. She can see some development, but not a ballpark.
"A lot of people want their stories told, a lot of people want to be acknowledged," Edwards said as she stood in the city’s Old Negro Burial Ground, which was once covered by a parking lot. "We want that story to reflect the contributions, the sacrifice, the achievements — the grit that makes us who we are."
Steve Szkotak can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sszkotakap.