11. The African Burial Ground and Other Cemeteries

Overhead View of the African Burial Ground
Photo Courtesy of National Parks Service

While conducting site preparation for the construction of 290 Broadway in 1989, an archaeological research excavation discovered an African burial ground. It turned out to be the oldest and largest known excavated burial ground in North America for both free and enslaved Africans, dating to the middle 1630s. The “Negroes Burial Ground,” a 6-acre site that contained around 15,000 intact skeletal remains of Africans who lived and worked in colonial New York, was unearthed from thirty feet below the street level.

This site was designated a New York City Landmark in 1993. It also holds the distinction of National Historic Landmark and National Historic Monument. Other landmarked cemeteries include the New York Marble Cemetery, Trinity Church Graveyard, Old Gravesend Cemetery in Brooklyn, Brinckerhoff Cemetery in Queens, and many others.