Michael Blakey: “New York’s African Burial Ground: When the Dust Cleared.” – November 6, 2006

New York’s African Burial Ground underwent archaeological excavation from 1991-1992 to make way for a federal building project.  The extensive contributions of enslaved Africans to the building of colonial New York had not been acknowledged prior to the rediscovery of the cemetery which held nearly 20,000 of those who died there.  Controversy arose as different interest groups struggled over how the site should be treated, ultimately resulting in research and memorialization projects that are only presently reaching their conclusions. The project’s Scientific Director will present findings from the Final Reports (2004-2006) on the 419 excavated remains of Africans who had been enslaved in 18th century New York City.  He will discuss the memorial and interpretive center currently being completed at the African Burial Ground National Monument, and examine the implications of these dramatic developments for anthropological practice.



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