A Sacred Space in Manhattan

AAHC club members and Ranger Sean discuss the design and significance of the symbols used on the monument.
AAHC club members and Ranger Sean discuss the design and significance of the symbols used on the monument.
Club members, guided by Ranger Sean, visit the recreation of a burial scene with wax figures.
Club members, guided by Ranger Sean, visit the recreation of a burial scene with wax figures.
Details from the scrapbook about the discovery.
Details from the scrapbook about the discovery.
Whitman Senior, Alexandra Greaves tests her strength pushing a 400lb barrel just as the slaves did.
Whitman Senior, Alexandra Greaves tests her strength pushing a 400lb barrel just as the slaves did.
AAHC Club members view the actual spot where the remains are now buried as Ranger Sean explains the size of the original grave site.
AAHC Club members view the actual spot where the remains are now buried as Ranger Sean explains the size of the original grave site.

From about the 1690s until 1794, both free and enslaved Africans were buried in 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 a Federal office building.

Helping her students to understand and appreciate their rich history, Walt Whitman Teacher and African American Heritage Club (AAHC) Adviser Ms. Cynthia Quinlan took her students on a trip to the National Park's African Burial Ground Museum and Monument in Manhattan. The interactive visitor center, specially commissioned artwork, and outdoor memorial offer an in depth understanding of how, when, and why enslaved and free Africans were using the African Burial Ground during the 17th and 18th centuries.

The African Burial Ground is widely acknowledged as one of America's most significant archeological finds of the 20th century. Our students learned about this once forgotten piece of New York history and how the rediscovery of the burial ground united a community committed to honoring, preserving, and teaching this important history to generations that follow.