Maya Angelou, Bloomberg, Nadler
Maya Angelou speaks at the Rites of Ancestral Return.

On November 4, 1993 all excavated human remains were transferred to the W. Montague Cobb Research Laboratory of Howard University. A commemorative candlelight vigil, seminar, ancestral tribute and reception marked the departure from New York to Washington, D.C. In September, 2003 to October 4, 2003, the “Cradle Moving” event commenced marking the return of the ancestral remains from Washington, D.C. to the Burial Ground for reinternment. Prior to final reinterment each of the 419 human skeletal remains were carefully laid in each respective hand-carved coffin. Celebration and ceremonies surrounded the return from Washington D.C. back to New York City in the Rites of Ancestral Return. Upon arrival at the burial ground in New York City, 60 coffins were stacked in a larger crypt, and the crypt was lowered respectfully into the ground. Seven crypts in total were lowered back into the ground, each one marked with re-burial mound. Today you may visit and pay respects to the re-interred ancestors at our exterior memorial. If you would like, you may lay flowers or other tributes to the ancestors on the mounds.

Reinterment coffin
Reinterment hand-carved coffin
Ancestral mounds
Ancestral Remains

Last updated: March 27, 2018

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African Burial Ground NM
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