African Burial Ground National Monument

New York, United States

African Burial Ground National Monument is a monument at Duane Street and African Burial Ground Way (Elk Street) in the Civic Center section of Lower Manhattan. Its main building is the Ted Weiss Federal Building at 290 Broadway. The site contains the remains of more than 419 Africans buried during the late 17th and 18th centuries in a portion of what was the largest colonial-era cemetery for people of African descent, some free, most enslaved. Historians estimate there may have been as many as 10,000–20,000 burials in what was called the Negroes Burial Ground in the 1700s. The five to six acre site's excavation and study was called 'the most important historic urban archaeological project in the United States.' The Burial Ground site is New York's earliest known African-American cemetery; studies show an estimated 15,000 African American people were buried here.

The discovery highlighted the forgotten history of enslaved Africans in colonial and federal New York City, who were integral to its development. By the American Revolutionary War, they constituted nearly a quarter of the population in the city. New York had the second-largest number of enslaved Africans in the nation after Charleston, South Carolina. Scholars and African-American civic activists joined to publicize the importance of the site and lobby for its preservation. The site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1993 and a national monument in 2006 by President George W. Bush.

In 2003 Congress appropriated funds for a memorial at the site and directed redesign of the federal courthouse to allow for this. A design competition attracted more than 60 proposals. The memorial was dedicated in 2007 to commemorate the role of Africans and African Americans in colonial and federal New York City, and in United States history. Several pieces of public art were also commissioned for the site. A visitor center opened in 2010 to provide interpretation of the site and African-American history in New York.



Your name


Founded: 2010
Category: Statues in United States

More Information


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

NoteAndroid (3 years ago)
This is a small, hide away corner in the midst of the busy lower Manhattan. It's quiet and very few people find it. If you have time, go into the museum, lots to see, read, learn, and tears to share. A great place to contemplate a past history of forced human migration and to reflect how to can we live together as brothers and sisters in a modern, civil society. Beautiful and meaningful patterns on the granite walls. Garden offer a very interesting perspective views for photographers. Do not let the children walk on top of the burial mounts/tombs.
Barbie Atkins (3 years ago)
We went to see the outdoor monument knowing that the visitor center was closed. While we were there, a park ranger came out to talk with us. He was very informative and we appreciated that he came out to tell us about it. It's a beautiful and thoughtful memorial.
Sid C (3 years ago)
This is a powerful monument that is a national park service unit. The inside is closed (it's located inside a federal building) probably due to the pandemic, but the outside if open. There are plaques that describe how this monument came to be and provides a great learning experience. Go check it out while in NY - a good way to spend an hour learning about black history in NYC.
Alexandra Sasha Malcolmson (3 years ago)
The museum is still closed but that looked super cool and I want to go back to check that out some day. The actual monument is open and very interesting. Be sure to pick up a brochure by the entrance. There are some wandering rangers but it’s not like the other NPS sites with a tent or ranger station.
daviscd6837 (3 years ago)
I saw with a tour group. It was a very informative experience. The tour was organized by Black Gotham Experience. It included the architect who designed the memorial. Highly recommend. Check out their website.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Topography of Terror

The Topography of Terror (Topographie des Terrors) is an outdoor and indoor history museum. It is located on Niederkirchnerstrasse, formerly Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse, on the site of buildings which during the Nazi regime from 1933 to 1945 were the headquarters of the Gestapo and the SS, the principal instruments of repression during the Nazi era.

The buildings that housed the Gestapo and SS headquarters were largely destroyed by Allied bombing during early 1945 and the ruins demolished after the war. The boundary between the American and Soviet zones of occupation in Berlin ran along the Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse, so the street soon became a fortified boundary, and the Berlin Wall ran along the south side of the street, renamed Niederkirchnerstrasse, from 1961 to 1989. The wall here was never demolished.