African History Endures in Downtown NY

Monument on site of burial ground honors slaves, free blacks
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2007 6:34 PM CDT
African History Endures in Downtown NY
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, left, is framed in the center of a wreath as he listens to poet Maya Angelou perform a poem during the dedication ceremony for the African Burial Ground National Monument in New York, Friday Oct. 5, 2007. The ceremony came more than 16 years after the burial ground was rediscovered...   (Associated Press)

Concealed for centuries beneath what are now Manhattan skyscrapers, a burial ground uncovered in 1991 teemed with life today as a ceremony honoring African and African American people and their histories marked the dedication of a $50 million granite memorial. "Now we have an opportunity to right some of the wrongs of the past," said the monument's designer.

Closed for some 200 years, the burial ground came to light during construction in 1991; the long-delayed project will eventually include a museum, the Daily News reports. Actors Sidney Poitier and Avery Brooks attended, according to Newsday, and Maya Angelou brought the crowd to its feet with a spoken-word piece re-creating a slave auction. (More slavery stories.)

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