Haitian American Architect Rodney Leon Slavery Memorial Unveiled at United Nations


By Vania Andre

When Rodney Leon was a boy growing up in Brooklyn, his immigrant parents made sure to instill their Haitian culture and history into his young mind.

This teaching has paid huge dividends for the 45- year-old architect, who has garnered critical acclaim and has designed a series of high-profile projects in New York City and beyond.

“My parents were always able to communicate to us as a family in terms of our history and our culture,” said Leon, who lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two daughters. “I think that that plays a role in my being extremely proud of our Haitian and our African heritage. And as a result, when we have these legacies and these opportunities that I think I tend to gravitate towards.”

Ark of the Return Photo Credit: Fitgi Saint Louis
Recently Leon unveiled his latest project, “Ark of the Return,” a permanent memorial to the victims of slavery, at the United Nations commemorating the victims of the transatlantic slave trade. The work was commissioned by the United Nations, which in 2007, declared March 25, International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

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