History & Culture

Maerschalck map 1754
The Maerschalck map of the City of New York is a historic map made in 1754 that clearly shows the African Burial Ground and its surrounding neighborhood

Library of Congress

 
In 1991, construction began on a 34-story federal office tower positioned on 290 Broadway and overseen by the General Services Administration (GSA). Federally funded construction projects are mandated to comply with Section 106 in the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. A “Stage 1A Cultural Resource Survey,” was completed in the area of Republican Alley in 1989 prior to construction. The compliance cultural research study assisted archeologists to determine any potential archeological and cultural impacts of construction on 290 Broadway.

Preliminary archeological research excavation found intact human skeletal remains located 30 feet below the city’s street level on Broadway. During survey work, the largest and most important archeological discovery was made: unearthing the "Negroes Buriel Ground"- a 6-acre burial ground containing upwards of 15,000 intact skeletal remains of enslaved and free Africans who lived and worked in colonial New York. The burial ground’s rediscovery altered the understanding and scholarship surrounding enslavement and its contribution to constructing New York City. The Burial Ground dates from the middle 1630s to 1795. Currently, the burial ground is the nation’s earliest and largest African burial ground rediscovered in the United States.

Memorialization and research of the enslaved African skeletal remains were negotiated extensively between the General Services Administration, the African American descendant community, historians, archeologists, and anthropologists, including city and state political leaders.
Civic engagement led to the ancestral remains' reinterment within the original site of rediscovery. An outdoor memorial, an interpretive center, and research library were constructed to commemorate the financial and physical contributions of enslaved Africans in colonial New York and honor their memory.

Click below to learn more about the continuing story of the African Burial Ground, or for a brief history of our site written by author and historian Christopher Moore, a descendant of Groot Manuel--one of the first 11 enslaved Africans in New York City.
 
  • Burial 340 glass bead artifact

    Archeology

    Explore the stories and artifacts the ancestral remains helped reveal to scientists.

  • Castello Plan 1660

    African Enslavement in New York

    The ancestral remains guide us towards a better understanding and telling of colonial history and enslavement in New York.

  • African Burial Ground Outdoor Memorial

    Civic Engagement

    Explore how civic engagement helped memorialize this site.

  • Hand-carved coffins in which the ancestral remains were reinterred

    Reinterment

    Learn more about the return of the ancestral remains and the reinterment ceremonies.

  • The Ancestral Chamber Memorial

    The Ancestral Chamber

    Learn about the history and symbolism incorporated into the outside memorial to commemorate the ancestral re-interment.

  • Celebrating Kwanzaa

    Continuing the legacy

    Be part of African Burial Ground National Monument's continuing story

 

Last updated: November 23, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

African Burial Ground NM
C/O Federal Hall National Memorial
26 Wall St

New York , NY 10005

Phone:

212 238-4367

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