Designer: Hood Design Studio (United States); Collaborators: Pei Cobb Freed & Partners (United States); Clients: International African American Museum, City of Charleston; Location: Charleston, South Carolina, USA; Year: 2022

My Ancestors’ Garden memorializes the port of entry for nearly half of all enslaved Africans brought to North America, where thousands of people were warehoused, sold, and many died. The landscape design for the International African American Museum exposes what had been erased—the former Gadsden’s Wharf location had never been marked—and now reveals truths that have been long obscured. The landscape design marks the watery terrain with the full-size outlines of bodies drawn in an abolitionists’ diagram of a packed slave ship and takes cues from “hush harbor” landscapes where enslaved Africans could meet freely and share stories and traditions from their homeland.

Image: Atlantic Passage renderings by Hood Design Studio, 2019; Credit: © Hood Design Studio, Inc.