Dedication at NYC African Burial Ground
Community leaders gathered on Friday in New York City to dedicate a memorial made of granite, stone and water at the once-forgotten grave site of thousands of African slaves. The ceremony marked the formal opening of the memorial constructed last year, to honor the memories of the estimated 15,000 Africans buried at the original seven-acre site in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The site was discovered in 1991. The burial ground, most of which still lies deep beneath sidewalks, buildings and streets, was designated a national historic landmark in 1993. It is reported that archeologists unearthed the bones of 419 individuals from the site and have said that the majority died of physical violence. The bones were eventually placed in hand-carved caskets and buried in crypts alongside what is now the memorial. The project cost more than $50 million.
Those in attendance included NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. and poet Maya Angelou. Bloomberg told those assembled that "Part of atoning for such a terrible injustice is to acknowledge it." Maya Angelou sang to the crowd and told a story of the auctioning of a young girl, stripped nude on the block. Referring to those interred beneath seven grassy mounds alongside the memorial, she said "... We will not forget you."
More on this story, here.
Here is the official declaration from February, 2006 by President Geoge W Bush that established the burial ground as a National Monument.
Here is an official press release regarding this event from the U.S. dpartment of the Interior.
Noted scholars and researchers throughout the United States have conducted
intense research and analysis into the history, bioanthropology and archaeology of the African Burial Ground site. Here are some of their findings.
(Image source: Associated Press)