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African Burial Ground

African Burial Ground (25)

This is one of those little corners which tourists ignore and are worth visiting. It is a tiny little part of an area of over 25,000 m2, where the first African Americans in New York were buried, some 15,000, until the cemetery was closed in 1794.

The cemetery was rediscovered relatively recently, in 1991, when excavations of a new federal building were started, and soon became a National Monument in honour of all those who suffered slavery between 1626 and the date of its abolition in the city of New York on 4 July 1827. Currently, it is estimated that more than 200 bodies still lie in this space; thus, for the African American community and for many New Yorkers, this is an area of great anthropological, archaeological, historical and, above all, spiritual and sentimental value.

The Monument you can see now is the work of Rodney Leon, an architect of Haitian descent, who won the tender and, in collaboration with other architects, build this touching granite structure. You will see a world map, which is called The Door of Return, as opposed to The Door of No Return, which is what the West African ports were called from where slaves were shipped.

In addition, since February 2010, at 290 Broadway, you can visit some of the remains that were found here, as well as a small projection and exhibition room showing the great archaeological and historical value of the African Burial Ground.

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