The African Burial Ground project began in 1991, when, during pre-construction work for a new federal office building, workers discovered the skeletal remains of the first of more than 400 men, women and children. Investigations revealed that during the 17th and 18th centuries, free and enslaved Africans were buried in a 6.6 acre burial ground in lower Manhattan outside the boundaries of the settlement of New Amsterdam, which would become New York.
Over the decades, the unmarked cemetery was covered over by development and landfill. The finding deeply impacted the descendant and broader community and, at the same time, renewed awareness in cultural significance and historic preservation.
Managed by the General Services Administration, the overall project is a testimonial to a positive and collaborative partnership between many parties, including the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Howard University, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the African American community.
Through the community’s activism and commitment, the African Burial Ground was awarded designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1993 and was named a National Monument in 2006. The African Burial Ground National Monument, located at the corners of Duane and Elk Streets in lower Manhattan, is operated by the National Park Service.
There are many different activities to participate in and history to explore at the African Burial Ground National Monument.