Rendering of the Newton Enslaved Burial Ground Memorial, which will anchor the Barbados Heritage District © Adjaye Associates

Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Amor Mottley has announced the creation of the Barbados Heritage District – an area that will include a memorial, a major global research institute, and a museum located in Newton Plantation just on the outskirts of Bridgetown.

In making the announcement on Saturday, Mottley said that this will be dedicated to accurately recounting the historic and contemporary impact of slavery on Barbados and on the lives of individuals, cultures, and nations of the Western hemisphere.

The Prime Minister added that the District’s research institute will document Barbados’ pivotal role as the harrowing portal through which millions of enslaved Africans were forced to the Americas.

In the wake of Barbados’ transition to the Parliamentary Republic, the Barbados Heritage District will also serve as a cornerstone and catalyst for the ongoing development of Barbados’ independent identity, culture, and place on the world stage.”

The Prime Minister also announced that David Adjaye has been commissioned to design the Barbados Heritage District.

The first phase of the project will be the Newton Enslaved Burial Ground Memorial, a monument to the nation’s enslaved ancestors that will serve as a place of remembrance, honoring those individuals impacted by the effects of forced migration.

Located at the Newton Burial Ground, the memorial will provide the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual framework for the scholarly research and public programs that the future center will generate.

Upon completion, it will be the first research institute and resource center of global stature based in the Caribbean dedicated to exploring the history and enduring impact of slavery and forced migration on the world.

The groundbreaking is slated for November 30, 2022, on the first anniversary of Barbados’ status as the Parliamentary Republic.

The development of the Barbados Heritage District will support significant job growth in new industries, technologies, and construction sectors.

The District is being developed in partnership with the Prime Minister’s Office, the Barbados Archives Department, and the Barbados Museum and Historical Society, who are working in collaboration with a team of Barbadian scholars, spearheaded by Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies.

“Barbados is authentically enshrining our history and preserving the past as we reimagine our world and continue to contribute to global humanity. It is a moral imperative but equally an economic necessity,” the Prime Minister said.