African American Garden

890 Martin Luther King Jr Dr, Cleveland, OH 44106
W. Daniel Bickerstaff II, AIA, NOMA, NCAR
Dedication Date:
June, 2016
Sponsoring Organization:

The Association of African American Cultural Gardens

History & Design:

The garden was established after a task force of prominent business and civic leaders and community activists was organized by Mayor Frank G. Jackson. They identified the garden’s mission as promoting education and interest in African American culture and heritage and a spirit of friendship among all people.

The design by architect Daniel W. Bickerstaff conveys the past, present and future of the African American community.

The concept of the Past Pavilion, the first installation in the garden, is to translate the experience of the Trans-Altantic Slave Trade through a reinterpretation of the corridors and dungeons and the “door of no return” in the slave castles along the western coast of Africa.

The pavilion depicts stages of the slave passage to the new world with its polished black granite sculptural walls which create a sensation of compression, tension and apprehension. The Door of No Return is the sandstone portal addressing the notion of unknown transition. The Infinity Fountain echoes the illusion of the tranquility of the Atlantic Ocean as seen through the actual Doorway of No Return.

The Present Pavilion is a black granite platform with additional etchings and water flowing backwards, a reminder that we learn from our past and stand on the foundation created by our ancestors

The future pavilion will be a gift to the next generation, a symbol that our future is strong and secure.