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(Re)Imagining Cheapside Witnessing Circle will honor enslaved African Americans

The lives of enslaved African Americans will be honored during Witnessing Circle, a convening scheduled from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, October 23 at the Farish Theater in the downtown Lexington Public Library, 140 E. Main Street.

“This convening will be a cross between sacred performance and public engagement,” said internationally recognized author and placemaker Jay Pitter, who will lead the event. She added that it is intended to humanize the African Americans who were bought and sold at Cheapside and to create a moment to reflect on ways to build more equitable relations among all Lexingtonians.

The program will include a witnessing ritual during which there will be twelve readings of the names and transaction information of enslaved African Americans sold at Cheapside. This information was discovered during the final phase of (Re)Imagining Cheapside from originally handwritten city archives dating back more than 150 years.

Witnessing Circle is one of a series of events for (Re)Imagining Cheapside, a project designed to create a more inclusive public square and city. Other (Re)Imagining Cheapside events included public storytelling walks and an inclusive design playdate for children at the Lexington Public Library earlier this year.

(Re)Imagining Cheapside is a collaboration of Blue Grass Community Foundation, the City of Lexington, Hensley Agency – State Farm Insurance, local community organizers and Take Back Cheapside, a Lexington community coalition. Additional funding support was provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited and reservations are required. Email ryan@bgcf.org to register.

From Bluegrass Community Foundation

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