Designer chosen for Philly slavery monument

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Almost five years after controversy flared over the ignoring of George Washington's old slave quarters on Independence Mall, a designer for a memorial to those slaves and to the presidential house they lived in was announced yesterday.

Kelly/Maiello Architects & Planners of Philadelphia, selected by city and National Park Service officials - with substantial community and academic input - will now break ground this summer on the $5.2 million President's House memorial. An extensive archaeological examination of the site will first be performed.

When completed, probably next year, the memorial will constitute the first national commemoration of slaves.

Kelly/Maiello was chosen from a group of five finalists for the project. The firm, over the years, has been involved with aspects of several big-ticket projects in the region, including the expansion of the central branch of the Free Library, expansion of the Convention Center, construction of the Criminal Justice Center, and restoration of City Hall and Family Court.

Their design, which outlines the house at the southeast corner of Sixth and Market Streets where slave owner Washington and anti-slavery John Adams lived and conducted their presidencies in the 1790s, utilizes audiovisual elements to tell the stories and re-create the environment of those who lived there, including the enslaved Africans and other servants.

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