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Source: Philadelphia Tribune
Date: February 25, 2007
Byline: Robert Hightower

Memorial design to be revealed

On Tuesday, Mayor John F. Street and Independence National Historical Park Superintendent Dennis Reidenbach will hold a press conference to unveil the design that will accent a forgotten footnote in history.

Teams were invited by the National Park Service and the Independence National Historic Park, and given the opportunity to display their artistic talents by creating three-dimensional models that commemorate the slaves owned by George Washington that resided and labored at The President's House, which once stood at 6th and Market Streets.

Project manager Roz McPherson feels the Independence Hall location, which is adjacent to the Liberty Bell, is perfect for the recognition of, the models given the high frequency of visitors that the area garners.

"This is one of the most public processes that has taken place in this city," she said.

The models were on display for the public to evaluate at the National Constitutional Center and then later at the African-American Museum in Philadelphia from August. 16 through October. 1, 2006. While being displayed, evaluation cards were on hand to give onlookers the opportunity to voice their opinions.

It came down to three remaining teams who will find out their fates at the press conference.

Street made a pledge of $1.5 million dollars to help fund the project along with Congressmen U.S. Reps. Chaka Fattah and Bob Brady giving $3.6 million.

McPherson was happy to see that a large part of what made this project a reality was minority participation.

"One of the things that took so long was making sure that there was significant minority participation," she said. "I grew up in the time of segregation, so it is important for the early generation to know about that and participate in these things."

An archeological dig at the site will also take place immediately after the announcement of the victor. This is to make sure that there are. no unearthed artifacts before the erection of the models. The Philadelphia School system has become involved with the program. They will have the opportunity to witness arlifacts being preserved.

"The kids from schools will go into the labs and see how the process is done," said McPherson.

McPherson said she feels that this will expose the pupils to perhaps a career option.

"This is good for them," she said. "There is a severe lack of people of color in those fields."


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