Those who oppose Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones' proposal to build a stadium in Shockoe Bottom appear to have won a high-profile ally.
Lupita Nyong'o, an actress who won an Academy Award for her role in "12 Years a Slave," took to social media recently, first with a cryptic post on Oct. 6 that included an image with the text "Shockoe Bottom," and asked "What's this place about?"
On Sunday, she posted again: "There are those who think history belongs only in books… and Some who want to preserve our right to see it…. Which are you?"
Her post, which appeared on her Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, ended with a hashtag: "SaveShockoe." The actress has 1.8 million fans on Facebook.
Stadium opponents said they're not sure how Nyongo'o got involved.
"No idea," said Phil Wilayto, one of the activists whose helped organize opposition to the proposal. "Something's going on. We're trying to reach her, but it's not easy."
"12 Years a Slave" is based on the autobiography of Solomon Northup, a black man who was born free but was then kidnapped and sold into slavery. Northup spent several days in a slave jail in Shockoe Bottom.
Several of Northup's descendents have also spoken out against Jones' stadium proposal.