Low on bucks but big on curiosity? Try a fascinating and enlightening visit to the latest free attraction in Lower Manhattan: the African Burial Ground National Monument. Why haven’t you heard of this historical spot before? Well, it all began in 1991 when a burial ground for slaves was unearthed during the first stages of a new construction project. Over 400 wooden caskets were discovered only 16 to 28 feet below the street. Its development has been progressing over the past twenty years, and the site only recently became New York City’s newest National Monument.
From the end of the 17th century until 1794 about 15,000 men, women and children of African descent, both free and enslaved, were buried in this 6.6 – acre cemetery; denied the right to be buried in the nearby Trinity Church graveyard. At the time the burial ground was in use New York had more slaves than any North American city outside of Charleston, South Carolina.
In 1993 the site became a National Monument, and the first one dedicated to Africans of early New York and Americans of African descent. Visiting is free. The address is 290 Broadway between Duane and Elk Streets. For more information call 212-637-2019.