A permanent memorial designed by Rodney Leon (B.Arch. ‘92), Pratt Institute alumnus and adjunct professor in the School of Architecture, was unveiled at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on March 25. Titled The Ark of Return, the memorial recognizes the millions of African people who endured the extreme conditions on slave ships during the Middle Passage and the subsequent horrors of enslavement upon their arrival in the “New World.” Renowned Brooklyn-based metal fabricator Milgo/Bufkin, a company that is headed by Pratt Board of Trustees Chair Bruce Gitlin, was involved in the development and fabrication of the memorial.
“The Ark of Return memorial will bring home to visitors from around the world the terrible legacy of the slave trade,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his annual message about the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. “It will enable them to reflect on a core goal of the United Nations: the promotion and preservation of the dignity, freedom and equality of all human beings.”