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African Burial Ground National Monument

The African Burial Ground is considered the oldest and largest excavated burial site in North America for both free and enslaved Africans.

The African Burial Ground National Monument marks the location where the bodies of 419 men, women, and children were discovered during excavations for a building in Lower Manhattan. The burial ground, located outside the borders of the colonial settlement, was the only place both enslaved and free Africans could be buried.

Although the names of the people buried at the site are now lost, evidence of their ancestry and cultural practices—and those of the surviving enslaved community—were found with their remains, such as those identified as “Burial 340.” The archeological work at the site yielded significant discoveries about the health, customs, and beliefs of Africans in colonial America.

A National Monument now marks the site as sacred ground of historical importance. The Monument was dedicated in 2007 to the Africans of early New York and to Americans of African descent, honoring the hardship and sacrifices of the earliest Africans, enslaved and free, in colonial America and the New Nation.

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