The study of Washington, DC as an embodiment of national identity and a design proprosal for a slave memorial on the National Mall
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The National Mall in Washington DC has become an “encyclopaedia of American history,” however conspicuous in its absence, is the history of African American slavery upon which this national artifact was built. Slavery may not be cause for celebration as one of America`s proudest moments, however its history is critical to understanding the history of America and why the deep-seated antagonism between the races continues to exist within its very core. The purpose of the thesis is to focus on this aspect of American history in order to design an appropriate memorial that would satisfy this gap between this history and its recognition on the National Mall. Secondly, the slave memorial intends to honour the victims of slavery who have been largely ignored, trivialized, or misrepresented by the few memorials in Washington that claim to address their memory. A major portion of this thesis constitutes a mapping of the memorials and monuments of Washington DC in an attempt to understand how the capital has come to embody the “national identity” of the United States. The thesis also contains a summarized history of slavery and racial tension in the United States. This material is included in the thesis in order to remind us of the depth and seriousness of the history that the slave memorial must address through its built, architectural form.