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Contact: Mindi Rambo, 212-668-2208
Black History Month 2009
New York, NY - Celebrate Black History Month with the National Park Service from Feb 17th to Feb 21st. The theme of Returning to the Roots: Going Green will surround the workshops and programs throughout the week. Guided by the spirit of Sankofa, a West African Akan concept and symbol that means “learn from the past to prepare for the future,” the week’s theme represents the Burial Ground’s connection to its African roots and the global movement of people committed to sustaining the world’s natural environment.
The events will take place at the African Burial Ground National Monument, which is located on the first floor of the Ted Weiss Federal Building at 290 Broadway in Lower Manhattan. The morning and afternoon festivities are free, however, space is limited and reservations are required. Upon entering the building, the public will have to go through airport like security. It is advised to arrive fifteen minutes prior to the starting time of the program/workshop.
In the Jaliya Kafo Band Workshop led by Salieu Sosu, participants will enjoy the soulful sounds of African music while learning about different musical instruments. The art of playing some traditional African instruments has been passed down from one generation to the next. Participants who attend this workshop will listen to and learn about these stories that have withstood the test of time and have become an important part of family history. All are welcome to attend this workshop. This workshop will be offered Tuesday February 17th at 11:00a.m. & 1:00p.m.
Laura James, a self-taught painter of Antiguan heritage, will present two separate programs that both utilize historical literature on the African Burial Ground as the inspirational basis for the artistic creations. In the Drawing with Text Workshop participants will use narrative pulled from African Burial Ground documents to expand on the themes incorporated in Laura James’ paintings. The workshop will teach participants how to integrate text and imagery to tell stories. This workshop is geared towards young adults. This workshop will be offered Tuesday February 17th at 2:00p.m.
In the second workshop Portrait Painting Workshop, participants will learn how to paint portraits in the artist’s style. Using specific information about those interred on-site (i.e.: age, gender, artifacts buried with them, etc.), participants will give a face to the enslaved population interred at the African Burial Ground. This workshop is geared towards young adults. This workshop will be offered Wednesday February 18th at 1:00p.m.
A Children’s Story Time Program will be presented by NPS Ranger Jennifer Zazo. This program engages small children in story time from a selected collection of picture books that explore issues related to the history and importance of the African Burial Ground, such as the struggles and triumphs of enslaved and free Africans. The program concludes with a visit to the memorial at the African Burial Ground National Monument as well as the Triumph of Human Spirit sculpture-both of which honor the free and enslaved Africans who were instrumental in the building of New York. This program is geared towards families with children, preschoolers, and beginning readers. This program will be offered Wednesday February 18th at 10:00a.m.
Daniel Carlton will weave together tales from the African Diaspora in this Storytelling Program. He will engage audiences and explore different expressive genres such as folktales, monologues, call and response, and actual narratives from his own ancestors. All ages are welcome and encouraged to participate in this program. This program will be offered Wednesday February 18th at 11:00a.m. & 1:00p.m.
A Memory Book Workshop will be presented by Vickie Frémont. In this workshop participants will create their own book filled with special memories. Participants are encouraged to bring pictures, flyers, and postcards which are of special importance. The cover of the book will be made with picture collages and African fabrics. The inside of the book will have sewn in pages which can be used to write poems, stories, and keep photographs of loved ones. This workshop is geared towards fourth grade and up. This workshop will be offered Thursday February 19th at 10:30a.m. & 1:00p.m.
Rashidah Ismaili AbuBakr will present a Writing Workshop that is a two dimensional project which will explore stories based on the interrelationship of Africa and African American history and culture. She will work with participants to weave threads of personal images and stories with current events and information. Participants are asked to bring small visual objects around which to build their mini memories’. The object is to encourage participants to continue the writing at home so that they create documents of memories and family histories to pass on for generations. This workshop is geared towards fifth grade and up. This workshop will be offered Thursday February 19th at 10:30a.m. & 1:00p.m.
An African Adinkra Cloth Workshop will be presented by Vickie Frémont. Adinkra cloth is a hand printed fabric made in Ghana. Participants in this workshop will learn about the African Burial Ground and the symbols used in the memorial. Participants will create their own personal designs or Adinkra symbol stamps. They will decorate their piece of cloth with symbols and painted designs to tell a story or express their thoughts and feelings. This workshop is geared towards fifth grade and up. This workshop will be offered Friday February 20th at 10:30a.m. & 1:00p.m.
Are you good with words? This Spoken Word Workshop led by teaching artist Joyce Griffen will give poets a chance to express what they’ve learned from the African Burial Ground and the history of enslaved and free Africans. Allow yourself to be the keeper of your family’s stories, the person who maintains a memory through expressive storytelling. This program is geared towards seventh grade and up. This program will be offered Friday February 20th at 10:30a.m. & 1:00p.m.
Amos Debe, a native of Nigeria, will conduct a workshop about Drums from Africa. Many African drums are individual pieces of art that are handmade and unique. In this workshop participants will learn how to construct, play, and repair various types of drums which were made in parts of Africa such as Ghana and Nigeria. Attendees will be able to share their knowledge of African drums with family and friends. This program is geared towards fourth grade and up. This program will be offered Friday February 20th at 11:00a.m.
StoryCorps – The conversation of a lifetime
StoryCorps is eager to record your stories. From Feb 17th - Feb 20th, StoryCorps will provide an opportunity for you to share & record your most memorable stories and experiences of visiting the African Burial Ground with love ones and friends. The StoryCorps booth is located at Foley Square. One hour sessions are available in the morning and afternoon. Please call the African Burial Ground for available times.
Saturday February 21st:
The visitor center is normally closed on weekends, but on Saturday February 21st, the African Burial Ground will have an Open House. The memorial will be open from 9:00a.m. to 4:00p.m. and the visitor center will be open from 9:00a.m.to 5:00p.m. Art tours will focus on the commemorative artwork in the lobby of 290 Broadway, which were commissioned to pay tribute to the African Burial Ground. Reservations are required for the art tour. The tours will be conducted at
10:00a.m. & 12:00p.m.
An African Fashion Bag Workshop will be presented by Vickie Frémont. In this workshop, participants will sew, with a needle and thread, their own fashionable hand bag. Each bag will be made from African fabrics called pagne. A large cord ended with two cowrie shells are used to close the bag. The bag is easy to make and can be used to hold books, glasses, etc. This workshop will be offered Saturday February 21st at 11:00a.m.
A Contemporary Art Panel Discussion will take place at the African Burial Ground National Monument on Saturday February 21st at 2:00p.m. In conjunction with IONA College’s current exhibition entitled From Africa to America: Visual Reflections on the African Diaspora a panel of participating artists will discuss their artwork as it relatesto the themes of the African Burial Ground andhow diasporic history continues to influence contemporary art, thought, culture, and spirituality in America. The panel will be moderated by the exhibition’s curator and NPS Interpretive Park Ranger, Jennifer Zazo.
If you would like more information on how to make reservations for Black History Month please call 212-637-1995 or visit www.nps.gov/afbg.
About African Burial Ground National Monument
From the 1690s until the 1790s, both free and enslaved Africans were buried within a 6.6 acre burial ground in Lower Manhattan, outside the boundaries of the settlement of New Amsterdam, later known as New York. Lost to history due to landfill and development, the grounds were rediscovered in 1991 as a consequence of the planned construction of the Ted Weiss Federal Office building, located at 290 Broadway. A memorial at the African Burial Ground National Monument, dedicated in October of 2007, honors the memories of the approximately 15,000 Africans buried within the 6.6 acre boundary of the original cemetery. The visitor center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for Federal holidays. The memorial, located on the corner of Duane Street and African Burial Ground Way (Elk Street), is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. However, during the winter months, the memorial closes at 4p.m.
How to Get There: The African Burial Ground National Monument is located at 290 Broadway, 1st Floor. The J,M,Z, trains are two blocks away (Brooklyn Bridge stop), the 4,5,6 are two blocks away (Brooklyn Bridge stop), the R,W trains are three blocks away (City Hall stop), the A,C,E trains are 3 blocks away (Chambers stop), and the 2,3 trains are 5 blocks away (Park Place stop). The M15, M22 and B51 City Hall bus routes all terminate within walking distance and the M1 and M6 South Ferry route passes nearby. Ask the driver for the stop closest to Broadway and Duane Street.
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