Rediscovery and excavation of the Burial Ground motivated scholars, academicians, researchers, cultural resource managers, politicians, religious leaders, community activists, school children, and the general public. The multifaceted relationship between concerned actors and the General Services Administration underscored the global and universal entanglement of established historic scholarship, urban archaeology, and physical anthropology of African forced migration.
Vigils were held and ceremonies took place to honor the ancestors. Community activism directed and guided the memorialization and scientific research standards characteristically rooted within African cultural anthropology. Community activism ensured a global recognition of the spiritual aspects of the Burial Ground. Spirituality would not be lost through scientific research. Eventually, a research and memorialization agreement was established between the descendant community and GSA. An exterior memorial was constructed in 2007 to commemorate and memorialize the contributions of enslaved Africans globally. In 2010, a visitor center with museum exhibits and a 20-minute park film opened to the public, to help teach the story of the African Burial Ground. Due to the efforts of community involvement and activism, the African Burial Ground became a National Monument in 2006 by a presidential proclamation. The Antiquities Act of 1906 enabled President George W. Bush on February 27, 2006 through Presidential Proclamation, to name the African Burial Ground a National Monument as the first National Monument dedicated to Africans of early New York and Americans of African descent. Among other National Monuments in New York City, it joined the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Castle Clinton National Monument - all administered by the National Park Service.
Last updated: March 27, 2018