Apology plaque.

Sacajawea Apology Plaque

Field review by the editors.

Charlottesville, Virginia

In 1919 Charlottesville unveiled an impressive statue honoring Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and Sacajawea. At the time, even including Sacajawea was probably a bold idea, and the statue was praised as an inspiring work of public art. As time passed, however, the public grew less fond of the statue, which portrayed Sacajawea as hunched below Lewis and Clark -- sculpture shorthand for "subservient."

By the 21st century the statue's critics were demanding action. The statue couldn't be changed, and Charlottesville didn't want to scrap it, so in 2009 the city invited two Sacajawea descendants to write text for a conciliatory plaque, which was placed next to the statue.

On July 10, 2021, the sculpture was removed from its pedestal (as part of a purge of several city statues deemed offensive). It was last reported on display at ground level in Darden Towe Park. Location of the plaque is unknown, but plans to continue display of the sculpture would include new context and contemporary enlightenment.

Sacajawea Apology Plaque

Address:
105 Ridge St., Charlottesville, VA
Directions:
Was in the heart of downtown Charlottesville at the intersection of Ridge and W. Main.
Hours:
Statue removed July 10, 2021. Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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In the region:
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