Civic Center in Manhattan in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
African Burial Ground
The African Burial Ground was active until 1794. Within an area of not quite six acres, perhaps as many as 20,000 people were interred, mostly free or enslaved Africans. During the 18th century, one in ten residents of New York was of African descent, and slavery was widespread in or near the city. The institution of slavery officially endured in New York until July 4, 1827 – a fact celebrated the next day, July 5, by a parade through the city by hundreds of African-Americans. However, enslaved persons were in fact held in New York beyond that date.
Though old city maps show an African Burial Ground near Broadway and Chambers Street, it was not until 1991 that anyone realized thousands of burial sites still existed twenty feet below ground level. Further investigation confirmed that this was one of New York City’s major Colonial-era sites: an African burial ground dating back to the 18th and possibly even the 17th century, one of the very few surviving anywhere in the Americas, and now the largest known excavated African cemetery in the world. The burials were discovered by archeologists digging in advance of a new Federal
Erected by Alliance for Downtown New York.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Cemeteries & Burial Sites • Colonial Era. In addition, it is included in the National Historic Landmarks series list. A significant historical date for this entry is July 4, 1827.
Location. 40° 42.874′ N, 74° 0.237′ W. Marker is in Manhattan, New York, in New York County. It is in Civic Center. Marker is on Duane Street near Elk Street, on the left when traveling west. Elk Street and this section of Duane Street have been closed to automobile through traffic since 9/11. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10007, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Sacred Tradition, Sacred Ground (a few steps from this marker); Africans in Early New York (a few steps from this marker); Changing Landscape Obscures the Past (within shouting African Burial Ground National Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); "Sankofa" (within shouting distance of this marker); Foley Square c. 1730 (within shouting distance of this marker); Judge Walter R. Mansfield Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Foley Square c. 1800 (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Manhattan.
Regarding African Burial Ground. The monument is listed in the "AIA (American Institute of Architects) Guide to New York City, Fifth Edition".
Credits. This page was last revised on January 31, 2023. It was originally submitted on February 13, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. This page has been viewed 304 times since then and 32 times this year. Last updated on February 15, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on February 13, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. 10. submitted on February 15, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. 11. submitted on January 15, 2021, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.