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hArchitect unveils plans for memorial to blacks


Published: Thu, September 29, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.


hArchitect unveils plansfor memorial to blacks
NEW YORK -- As many as 20,000 slaves and free blacks who helped build New York's economy from docks to warehouses will be honored with a memorial near their burial ground. At a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, African drumbeats accompanied the unveiling of the $3 million design, pictured above, by Rodney Leon, a Yale-trained architect who has lived in West Africa. "These people were part of a worldwide network of slavery, and they helped the New York economy run and thrive," Leon said. The monument's design -- a spiraling, sunken court made of granite from Brazil and Canada -- includes symbols and hieroglyphics inspired by Leon's time in Ivory Coast. Jutting up from one side will be a slender, 24-foot-tall "ancestral chamber" meant to represent "the soaring African spirit embracing and comforting all those who enter," he said. The Colonial-era cemetery where the slaves were buried is nestled between lower Manhattan high-rise buildings, near city hall and adjoining the building that houses the New York offices of the FBI. Closed in 1794, the five-acre burial ground was forgotten as a construction landfill eventually buried it 20 feet underground. When the cemetery was rediscovered during construction of a federal office tower in 1991, community pressure prompted the government to abandon the project. The government declared the site a national historic landmark shortly after, and the remains were exhumed for research in the early 1990s. They were reburied in 2003.
Ex-Scott Peterson lawyerwrites book about case
MODESTO, Calif. -- A former lawyer for Scott Peterson who floated a human-sacrifice theory in the killing of Laci Peterson is writing a book about the case, his publisher said. "Presumed Guilty" by Matt Dalton is scheduled for release Dec. 13, according to Atria Books. It is one of several books about the case. Dalton ignored a court gag order to outline the defense theory for reporters in August 2003, a month before he left the Los Angeles law firm that represented Peterson. The publishing house said Dalton met with Peterson almost daily before he left the defense team. Peterson was sentenced to death for the 2002 murder of his pregnant wife. His lawyers did not pursue the human sacrifice defense at trial.
University grounds fleetof vans after fatal crash
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah State University grounded its fleet of large passenger vans for a monthlong safety check Wednesday after a rollover on an interstate killed eight students and their instructor. Glenn Ford, Utah State's vice president of business and finance, grounded the school's 36 passenger vans pending further inspection. Fourteen vans used by the university to ferry cargo and that have no bench seats for passengers will remain in use. One of the school's 15-passenger vans flipped and crashed Monday after blowing a tire, killing eight agriculture students and an instructor returning from a field trip to observe a safflower harvest.
Controversial museumdropped from 9/11 plans
NEW YORK -- Bowing to pressure from furious Sept. 11 families, Gov. George Pataki removed Wednesday a proposed freedom center from the space reserved for it near the planned World Trade Center memorial, saying the museum project had aroused "too much opposition, too much controversy." Pataki initially said the state would help the International Freedom Center find another home, but center officials said they weren't interested and considered the project dead. The decision followed months of acrimony, with some Sept. 11 families and politicians saying that such a museum would overshadow and take space from a separate memorial devoted to the 2,749 World Trade Center dead and would dishonor them by fostering debate about the attacks and other world events. "Freedom should unify us. This center has not," Pataki said. "Today there remains too much opposition, too much controversy over the programming of the IFC. ... We must move forward with our first priority, the creation of an inspiring memorial to pay tribute to our lost loved ones and tell their stories to the world."
Associated Press


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