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Landslide 2021 includes detailed histories about thirteen sites in CA, CO, FL, IL, KY, MD, NC, NY, TX, VA, and WI with richly illustrated narratives and video interviews.
Washington, D.C. (December 7, 2021) – The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) today released Landslide, an annual thematic report and exhibition about threatened and at-risk landscapes. Landslide 2021: Race and Space focuses on thirteen relatively unknown, but nationally significant cultural landscapes associated with African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native peoples, including: Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground, Richmond, VA, a largely eradicated site reputed to have been the largest burying ground for free and enslaved people of color in the United States; Sandy Ground, Staten Island, NY, the oldest continually inhabited free Black Settlement in the U.S.; and, Wink’s Panorama, Gilpin County, CO, one of the earliest resort communities built by and for Black Americans, and for many years was the only one of its kind west of the Mississippi River. The threats range from lack of recognition, insufficient funding and deferred maintenance to outright erasure. The exhibition and report feature an introduction, throughlines that delineate common characteristics associated with the sites, an illustrated history of each site with contemporary and newly commissioned photography, the threats posed, and Landslide Conversations comprised of eighteen richly illustrated short video interviews – one about each site and five about with people associated with the sites and other commentators.
“Landslide 2021 broadens our understanding of our nation’s complex history by raising the visibility of its overlooked cultural landscapes,” said Charles A. Birnbaum, TCLF’s president and CEO.
The Landslide 2021: Race and Space entries:
Carpenter Creek, Escambia County, Florida
For roughly half of the twentieth century, Carpenter Creek was a center of domestic and spiritual life for both Black and white neighbors, remarkably rare in an era when Florida’s beaches, pools, and public spaces were strictly segregated. Associated for many years with the African American Dawson family, on whose property a popular swimming hole was located, the Creek is now owned by the city and threatened by encroaching development and pollution.
Chickasaw Park, Louisville, Kentucky
The largest park specifically designed for the Black community of Louisville in the era of segregation, Chickasaw Park is also the only park designed by the Olmsted Brothers firm during the period of park segregation. A part of Louisville’s historic park system begun by Frederick Law Olmsted, and completed by his son John Charles, Chickasaw Park has a deep and rich history of fostering community and producing strong athletes, including Muhammad Ali, who trained at the park in his youth.
Dabney Hill, Burleson County, Texas
Dabney Hill, a rural, self-sustaining African American community established by Daniel Dabney in 1887, is an outstanding example of a Texas Freedom Colony that still has an active, living community and whose historic vernacular landscape still has a legible community core despite suffering severe storm damage in recent years. Dabney Hill is representative of the challenges facing the remaining extant Freedom Colonies, which have seldom been recognized and protected as significant cultural landscapes.
Friendship Park, San Diego, California
Located at the western-most end of the US-Mexico border where San Diego, California meets Tijuana, Mexico, Friendship Park and Monument Mesa is an important bi-national cultural landscape established in 1971 to demarcate the physical location of the international boundary line and provide a gathering space for visitors to the border. Although the park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and protected by Section 106, the passage of the Real ID Act in 2005 waived all cultural, environmental, and historic protections for border construction projects, and the U.S.-side of the Friendship Park garden was subsequently destroyed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in 2019.
Lincoln Avenue Community, New Rochelle, New York
Known as the Harlem of Westchester, the Lincoln Avenue community of New Rochelle developed around 1900 during the Great Migration. The center of the community was the Lincoln Elementary School, which was demolished in 1963 following the 1961 Federal Appeal’s Court ruling on the Lincoln School Desegregation Case. The six-lane Memorial Highway was subsequently constructed, which physically divided the community. The immediate threat is a state-funded Downtown Revitalization Initiative proposal prompted in part by aggressive redevelopment plans.
Lindsay Heights, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Once the site of Samuel Brown’s farm, an important stop on the Underground Railroad, the predominately Black Lindsay Heights neighborhood of Milwaukee has played a significant role in the history of the city but remains underrecognized as a cultural and historical asset. As economic development rooted in downtown Milwaukee pushes north towards Lindsay Heights, there is growing risk that these overlooked histories will be further pushed to the side.
Milton Lee Olive Park, Chicago, Illinois
Designed by landscape architect Daniel Urban Kiley, Milton Lee Olive Park was constructed on the shores of Lake Michigan near Navy Pier. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson posthumously awarded Private First Class Milton Lee Olive the first Medal of Honor given to a Black soldier for service in the Vietnam War. Then on June 19, 1966, the City of Chicago further honored Olive by dedicating its newest public park in his memory.
Nikwasi Mound, Franklin, North Carolina
Built perhaps 1,000 years ago and miraculously still standing today, Nikwasi Mound is an early expression of landscape design and a spiritual, cultural, and ceremonial center for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Once the focus of a 100-acre agrarian community, the Nikwasi Mound has been witnessed centuries of history and withstood numerous attempts at erasure by both man and nature.
Rochester Heights, Raleigh, North Carolina
Rochester Heights is significant as one of the earliest and few purpose-built subdivisions providing opportunities for homeownership for African Americans in Raleigh when housing remained racially segregated. Sited in the flood plain of Walnut Creek, Rochester Heights is subject to frequent and severe flooding events, and faces increasing threat of devastating downstream effects posed by large-scale urban development within the surrounding watershed.
Sandy Ground, Staten Island, New York
Sandy Ground in the Rossville neighborhood of Staten Island, which dates to the early nineteenth century, is the oldest continually inhabited free Black Settlement in the U.S. Unlike Seneca Village, the 19th century Black Settlement that once occupied part of Central Park and has been widely written about, the story of Sandy Ground, which still exists, is little known. While there is a cemetery and a number of extant structures, including a few dozen homes and a church (which was a stop on the Underground Railroad), remain, continued development and under recognition of the significance of the cultural landscape continue to threaten these remnants of an important layer of NYC’s history.
Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground, Richmond, Virginia
A largely eradicated Richmond burial ground at which were interred more than 22,000 people, likely making it the largest burying ground for free and enslaved people of color in the United States. Designated as “one acre for the free people of color, and one for the slaves in the City,” Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground was opened in 1816 and operated until 1879. Following its closure, the burial ground was desecrated by a series of municipal building projects over the 20th and 21st centuries. Advocacy led by descendants of individuals buried at Shockoe Hill has generated public support for protections against future proposed infrastructural projects.
Water’s Edge, Oxford, Maryland
Oxford, laid out in 1683, served as the first point of arrival in America for slave and trading ships arriving from transatlantic origins, and the knowledge, skills, and labor of Black Americans in Oxford established the region’s economic prosperity and cultural identity throughout the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Contemporary advocacy and education efforts preserve the rich heritage and important legacy of the region’s Black community, which came under threat of being forgotten as economic opportunities diminished and the older generation of Black residents began to pass away.
Wink’s Panorama and Lincoln Hills, Gilpin County, Colorado
Lincoln Hills, Colorado is one of the earliest resort communities built by and for Black Americans, and for many years was the only one of its kind west of the Mississippi River. The Wink’s Panorama lodge anchored the resort and attracted luminaries including Duke Ellington and Zora Neale Hurston. Advertised in the Green Book and in Ebony and Jet magazines, this landscape represents a manifestation of the American Dream for the Black middle class, a place to establish a home, to enjoy leisure time, and to safely experience the American outdoors.
Along with richly illustrated videos about each of the thirteen Landslide sites, the Landslide Conversations section of the Landslide 2021 website includes five videos related to the throughlines:
Landslide 2021: Race and Space was made possible by sponsors Joan Shafran and Rob Haimes Foundation, and Trahan Architects, along with ABC Stone, Bartlett Tree Experts, Victor Stanley, and media partner Landscape Architecture Magazine, and many other supporters.
First issued in 2003, Landslide has highlighted more than 300 significant at-risk parks, gardens, horticultural features, working landscapes, and other places that collectively embody our shared landscape heritage. Recently, Landslide 2018: Grounds for Democracy focused on sites associated with labor, civil and human rights, Landslide 2019: Living in Nature highlighted sites affected by human-induced climate change, and Landslide 2020: Women Take the Lead, timed to the centennial of women’s right to vote, focuses on sites across the country designed by women. Landslide designations have resulted in advocacy that has saved numerous sites. Moreover, once a site is enrolled in the Landslide program, it is monitored by TCLF.
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EDITORS: Hi-res images can be downloaded here – caption and credit information are in each photo label.