New York African Burial Ground History Final Report


The unearthing of the colonial cemetery known historically as the “Negroes Burying Ground” in Lower Manhattan in 1991 has given both scholars and the general public the opportunity to study and comprehend the broad dimensions of the African-American experience. The African Burial Ground and the remains contained within it provide a unique vantage point from which to view New York City’s Africans and their descendants over two centuries. As the final resting place for thousands of enslaved and free black people who lived and labored in the city from roughly 1627 until the end of the eighteenth century, the cemetery offers insight into physical stressors, ethnic identity, cultural continuities and assimilation. While each burial tells an individual story, collectively, they, along with archival evidence, enable us to reconstruct a forgotten community and to reveal the centrality of a marginalized people.

Following the suggestions outlined by the team of multi-disciplinary scholars who developed the Research Design in 1991, the African Burial Ground Project historical researchers pursued two goals. First, they attempted to place the biological and anthropological findings from the cemetery into a historical context, suggesting explanations for certain physical characteristics present in the skeletal remains. Their second task has been to provide a broader understanding of the lives of enslaved and free people in colonial New York. Hence, historical research has addressed issues beyond those specific to the burial ground population.

Cite this Record

New York African Burial Ground History Final Report. Edna Greene Medford. Washington DC: Howard University. 2004 ( tDAR id: 4868) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8VM49FN

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Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1640 to 1800

Spatial Coverage

min long: -74.017; min lat: 40.694 ; max long: -73.984; max lat: 40.736 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contributor(s): Selwyn H. H. Carrington; Emilyn L. Brown; Linda Heywood; Edna Greene Medford; John Thornton

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
abg_historyreportfinal.pdf 7.34mb Oct 19, 2010 9:50:53 AM Public