African Burial Ground National Monument
The African Burial Ground National Monument is truly a Sacred Space in Manhattan. GSA's African Burial Ground project began in 1991, when, during excavation work for a new federal office building, workers discovered the skeletal remains of the first of more than 400 men, women and children. Further investigation revealed that during the 17th and 18th centuries, free and enslaved Africans were buried in a 6.6 acre burial ground in lower Manhattan outside the boundaries of the settlement of New Amsterdam, which would become New York. Over the decades, the unmarked cemetery was covered over by development and landfill.
Managed by GSA, the overall project is a testimonial to a positive and collaborative partnership between many parties, including the Department of the Interior's National Park Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Howard University, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the African American community.
Today the site is a National Monument featuring a distinctive memorial that commemorates and communicates the story of the African Burial Ground--the single-most important, historic urban archaeological project undertaken in the United States.
The memorial is located at the corner of Duane Street and African Burial Ground Way (Elk Street). The memorial is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. seven days a week, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. However, during the winter, the memorial closes at 4 p.m.
The memorial honors the memories of the estimated 15,000 enslaved and free Africans who were interred in the burial ground during the 17th and 18th centuries. The visitor center contains exhibits and replica artifacts, and visitors may view a 25-minute documentary film about the history of the African Burial Ground. Park rangers present educational programs and provide interpretation of the commemorative art commissioned for the African Burial Ground National Monument. A resource library is available; please, schedule an appointment in advance. Because the visitor center is in a Federal office building, visitors must go through airport-style screening before entering. The visitor center is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for Federal holidays. Ranger-led tours that describe the unique artifacts and artwork at the African Burial Ground National Monument are scheduled weekdays at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Seasonality / Weather
New York City experiences four distinct seasons, and the weather can be highly variable from day-to-day. Please check the forecast before your visit.
Public transportation to the African Burial Ground National Monument is strongly recommended. Driving and parking in Lower Manhattan can be difficult. Generally, on-street parking is not available. Any available parking spaces are metered. Parking regulations are vigorously enforced. Violators are ticketed and towed. Pay parking is available at garages in the area, but is costly.
If you must drive:
1. On the east side of Manhattan - leave Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) Drive at the City Hall exit. Proceed west on surface streets to Broadway. The African Burial Ground is located just north of City Hall at 290 Broadway.
2. On the west side of Manhattan - leave the West Side Highway/West Street at Chambers Street. Drive east on surface streets until you reach Broadway. The African Burial Ground is located just north of City Hall at 290 Broadway.
The African Burial Ground is easily accessible by public transportation.
The 4, 5, 6,R, W, trains (Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall) are one block away, the J, M and Z trains are one block away (Chambers Street), the A train is three blocks away (Chambers Street) and the 1 train is 4 blocks away (Chambers Street) and the 2 and 3 trains are 4 blocks away (Park Place). The A, C and E are 5 blocks away (Chambers/World Trade Center).
Ground transportation includes bus routes servicing the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 42nd Street, PATH Trains servicing the World Trade Center Station and additional stations in Manhattan, Metro North servicing Grand Central Terminal at 42nd Street, and New Jersey Transit and Long Island Rail Road trains servicing Pennsylvania Station at 34th Street.
The M15, M22 and B51 City Hall bus routes all terminate within walking distance, and the M1 and M6 South Ferry route passes nearby. Ask the driver for the stop closest to Broadway and Duane Street.