29 Historic Places For Black History Month: African Burial Ground

African Burial Ground (NYC)

February 13th, 2016


Sign for African Burial Gound A National Monument.

why was it historic? 

    >      It goes without saying that the United States has had a long storied, dark past as it relates to Slavery. Slavery as an institution of free labor by predominantly African Americans built the very infrastructure of this country. When most people think of slavery our minds tend to think of the region past the Mason Dixon line, the south. However here’s a little known fact about slavery. By 1860, other than the city of Charleston, South Carolina, New York City had the highest slave population within its cities boundaries. Yes New York, More than any city in Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia or any where else in the nation. So it would come as no surprise that there was a huge African Burial Ground located somewhere in the City. 

    >       During the construction of what now stands as the Tim Weiss Federal Plaza, located in Lower Manhattan, while excavating the grounds bulldozers uncovered Buried remains of what is now known to be 17th & 18th century Africans. Construction was halted and archaeologists from all over the world joined in to properly identify the the remains at Howard University an Historical Black College. They discovered over the remains of over 400 people and it is believed that an estimated 15,000 people, were buried here at one time.This burial site is sacred & known to be the oldest burial for African Americans in the U.S. In 1991 & 1992 it was regarded as the most important archaeological site of the 20th century, the Remains of 419 people were found. They were re interred in 2003 & by 2006 President George W. Bush Designated as a National Monument.


Location:  290 Broadway, New York, NY 10007

Then photo:


African Burial Ground during excavation 1991

Now Photo:


African Burial ground, Present Day


>         Can’t believe how recent this finding was, all this time History was right below our collective feet. I’ve walked past this location Hundreds of times and never really thought to pay it proper respect. I would read a small plaque and keep going, New Yorkers are always in a rush. It’s time to start slowing down a bit because there is a tremendous amount of History in the City of New York that needs to be explored. This is definitely one of them.



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