Competing Memorial Designs for New York City’s Historic African Burial Ground Displayed at Exhibits and on Web Site for National Feedback through October 8

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The American public has an important opportunity to comment on five revised designs proposed as a permanent memorial on the African Burial Ground Site in lower Manhattan through feedback at the Web site and at special exhibits in the five New York City boroughs through October 8.

The American public has an opportunity to comment on five revised designs proposed as a permanent memorial on the African Burial Ground Site in lower Manhattan. The National Park Service (NPS) and the General Services Administration (GSA) have requested national feedback on the five competing memorial designs on the Web site and at special exhibits through October 8.

The public is invited to visit the display exhibits in educational and cultural centers throughout New York City showcasing the five revised African Burial Ground memorial designs. Through October 8, the displays will be on view at the Brooklyn Historical Society, the Langston Hughes Library & Cultural Center in Queens, Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island, Bronx Community College and at 290 Broadway in lower Manhattan. The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem will feature the both the display and the memorial design models through September 29. Then the models will join the ongoing display exhibit at 290 Broadway from October 1 - 8. The winning African Burial Ground memorial design is scheduled to be announced in fall 2004.

“Thanks to the efforts of many federal agencies, academic institutions and individuals, we have added critical new information to the history of America. The legacy of the African Burial Ground is of lasting and significant benefit for this generation and for all generations to come,” said Stephen A. Perry, Administrator of General Services.

This June, the five finalist design teams described their ideas for the African Burial Ground memorial at public forums in New York City’s five boroughs. The revised designs are based on public feedback on these presentations.

The African Burial Ground is and must be remembered as a sacred place. The memorial may also be a reminder of the important experience and major contributions that free and enslaved African men, women, and children made to the economy, development, and culture of New York City and America. In 1991, during the construction of a Federal office building at 290 Broadway in lower Manhattan, excavators unearthed a portion of the largest colonial-era cemetery for enslaved and free Africans in America. The remains of more than 400 Africans were discovered. It is now estimated that 20,000 African men, women, and children were buried in the African Burial Ground between the late 1600s and 1795. In 1700, the population of New York City was 20 percent African.

The National Park Service has been asked by GSA to work with the public and to help with the selection process of the memorial design and to develop recommendations for the interpretation and long-term stewardship of the African Burial Ground. Later this year, NPS will release a draft report of its findings; which will be available to the public for comment. As a National Historic Landmark, the African Burial Ground is eligible for NPS assistance.

“This is a nationally significant site, one of America’s most important National Historic Landmarks. The National Park Service is pleased to help the public take part in this memorialization process,” said Tara Morrison, NPS project manager. “We hope many people turn out and participate.”

For general information and addresses on the exhibits, please call 212-825-6887. For more information and to view and comment on the Memorial Design submissions, visit:


National Park Service

Brian Feeney



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