The combined talents of many fine artists and creators have resulted in a Memorial like no other.
Built to human scale, the Memorial’s sculptures, story wall, and granite-inlaid compass rose are both intimate and inclusive. Memorial elements embrace the waters of the Chesapeake Bay to touch distant shores and connect us to a broader world.
Dramatic lighting at night illuminates the Memorial – and so illuminates one family’s story representative of so many family stories.
The following artists had a primary role in the creation of the Memorial:
Gary S. Schwerzler, Interpretive Architect
Site Design — Land and Water Combine to Deliver a Unique and Intimate Experience
Gary S. Schwerzler is the interpretive architect behind the design of the entire memorial complex, from its inception in 1992 to its completion in 2002. Schwerzler created, with broad community input, a Memorial site design that seamlessly integrates the bronze sculpture group, compass rose, story wall, and other components with the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. The Memorial site is an accessible, compelling, and inspirational public space at the center of the city of Annapolis at the foot of its harbor.
As President and Principal Architect of Fourth Street Design Studio, a full-service architectural firm in Annapolis, Maryland, Schwerzler has designed projects throughout the greater Washington-Baltimore-Annapolis region. A graduate from Carnegie Institute of Technology, his designs for residential and commercial structures have been featured in Country Home, Southern Living, and Annapolitan magazines, among others. He also was a Program Director and Professor of Architecture at Anne Arundel Community College.
An integral member of the Annapolis community, Schwerzler has served on the board of Historic Annapolis Foundation, Inc., was Chairman of the Annapolis City Planning and Zoning Committee, a former President of the Ward One Association, and a current member of the board for Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation.
Ed Dwight, Sculptor
The Sculpture Group Artist
The sculptor of the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial, Ed Dwight, has created some 55 monuments and memorials to important Americans. Dwight memorials to noted African Americans include A. Phillip Randolph, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., George Washington Carver, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Hank Aaron, and Dr. Benjamin Mays. One of Dwight’s largest memorials is a tribute to the Underground Railroad installed on the grounds of the Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan.
Ed Dwight began his career as a graduate engineer, a former USAF Test Pilot, and America’s first African American Astronaut trainee. After a successful career as a real estate and construction entrepreneur, he has dedicated the last 23 years solely to his artistic endeavors. Dwight earned a Masters Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Denver in 1977. Today, Dwight has become one of the premier figurative artists in the world with works in private collections, institutions, and major museums, including the Smithsonian Institution.
His first commission, by the State of Colorado Centennial commission, was a series of bronzes depicting the contribution of African Americans to the American Frontier West. In 1979, he was encouraged to create a bronze series portraying the history and historical roots of Jazz. The acclaimed series, entitled “JAZZ: An American Art Form,” now consists of over seventy bronzes memorializing such jazz masters as Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, and Dizzy Gillespie.
Ed Dwight resides in Denver, Colorado, and is the owner of Ed Dwight Studios, one of the largest single-artist production and marketing facilities in the western U.S.
Story Wall & Information Stand
Peter D. Tasi, Graphic Designer
Story Wall Design—Art and Graphics Help Tell the Story
Peter D. Tasi has been an exhibition designer for nearly 40 years and designed the graphics for the ten bronze, one-of-a-kind, plaques that comprise the Story Wall.
A graduate of Pratt Institute in Graphic, Architectural, and Industrial design, Tasi has designed U.S. government exhibitions locally and abroad. Later, with two partners in Washington, D.C., he produced the opening exhibit for the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery and the first logo for the National Endowment for the Arts. After establishing his own studio in Annapolis, Maryland, Tasi designed numerous exhibitions for the Jewish Museum of Maryland.
His design approach to the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial’s Story Wall drew upon his work with the Eastport Historical Walking Tour and the Annapolis Gateway exhibition at City Dock. He serves as the director of exhibitions for the Annapolis Maritime Museum.
Patricia Fisher McHold, Sculptor/Painter
Artist Patricia Fisher assisted Peter Tasi in plaque design. McHold has been a sculptor and painter for over 30 years. Her masks in paper, clay, and other media have been used in dance productions and stem from an interest in ritual and psychodrama.
Her work has received awards in nationally and regionally judged competitions and is in numerous corporate collections, including Baltimore Gas & Electric, Verizon Telephone, United Technologies, University of Maryland Medical Center, National Institutes of Health, and the White House Christmas Tree Archives.
Story Wall: Narrative
Wiley A. Hall, 3rd, Executive Editor of The Afro-American Newspapers
Wiley A. Hall — Story Wall Narrative Shares Message of Love, Reconciliation, and Universal Hope
Award-winning journalist Wiley A. Hall, 3rd conceptualized and wrote the text for the story wall plaques, drawing upon epigraphs translated from Alex Haley’s Pulitzer prize-winning book, Roots.
A native of Washington, D.C., Hall has been a writer and communicator for over 25 years. As a writer for the Baltimore Sun, he won awards for his reporting on criminal justice, education, and politics, and a 1984 series on racial disparities in prison brought him a Pulitzer Prize nomination. As a Sun columnist, Hall won dozens of awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and others. His writing is included in Thinking Black, an anthology of African-American columnists published by Crown Books, and in a personal work, Urban Rhythms, Urban Blues.
Hall became executive editor of the Afro-American Newspapers in 2001. In this role, he sets editorial policy for all Afro publications; his column “Urban Rhythms” appears weekly in the Afro and other papers in Baltimore, Atlanta, and Richmond. He received a Distinguished Citizen Alumni Award from his alma mater, Macalester College, in 1995, and is listed in Marquis’ Who’s Who in America.
Located in historic Annapolis, Maryland, the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial symbolizes the triumph of the human spirit. It conveys Alex Haley’s vision for national racial reconciliation and healing, and stresses the importance of strong family connection and the preservation and honoring of cultural history and heritage.
Dedicated to our African ancestors whose names are forever lost in the oceans of time, and to any peoples that arrived in the New World in bondage, whose unpaid labor forged the foundation of this nation’s rise to greatness. Also, to the descendants of these ancestors who strive to foster a nation that celebrates ethnic diversity within the spirit of brotherhood, mutual respect, and understanding.
Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation
The Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation, Inc. was incorporated in the state of Maryland in 1995, as a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) nonprofit profit organization.
Our mission is to spread the vision of Alex Haley, a world that celebrates ethnic diversity while honoring humankind’s common universal experiences.
The Foundation is dedicated to stimulating greater interest in African American culture, history, art, archaeology, anthropology, and genealogy, and to encouraging people of all ethnic backgrounds to search for their own “roots.”
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