Thu, 4 November 2010
During the construction of a downtown federal administration building, an extraordinary find was discovered -- the remnants of a burial ground used by African slaves during the 18th Century.
In the earliest days of New Amsterdam, the first Africans were brought against their will to help build the new Dutch port, slaves for a city that would be built upon their backs. Later, forced to repress the cultural expressions of their forefathers, the early black population of British New York did preserve their heritage in the form of burial rites, in a small 'Negro Burial Ground' to the south of Collect Pond (and just a couple short blocks to today's City Hall).
How did this small plot of land -- and its astounding contents -- become preserved in the middle of the most bustling area of the most bustling city in the world? And why is it considered one of the most spectacular archaelogical finds in New York City history?