Tuesday, March 23, 2010

76-Second Travel Show: 'NYC's African Burial Ground'

Episode #027
F E A T U R I N G * 3 3 * B O N U S * S E C O N D S

One of the more fascinating recent New York stories was the discovery in 1991 of the African Burial Ground, a 6.6-acre site between the World Trade Center Site, Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian ramp and Chinatown in Lower Manhattan. During a construction project amidst the scramble of federal buildings just northeast of city hall, the site was found, including 419 graves from the only colonial-era cemetery of up to 15,000 Africans and African descendants.

It's since become a national monument, and a few weeks ago a museum opened at 290 Broadway. It's a small place, but tells a lot, with comparative graphs showing average lifespans of Africans and other colonials and shows many West African motifs, some of which were found in the 419 graves uncovered.

When I visited, I had the chance to talk with a few rangers as well as a visitor from the Central African Republic who couldn't believe she'd ever find something like this in New York.

Seems way overdue to me -- along with the Mall location for the National Museum of African American History & Culture in 2015 in Washington, DC.

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