From the 1690s until the 1790s, both free and enslaved Africans were buried in a 6.6 acre burial ground in Lower Manhattan, outside the boundaries of the settlement of New Amsterdam, later known as New York. Lost to history due to landfill and development, the grounds were rediscovered in 1991 as a consequence of the planned construction of a Federal office building. A memorial at the African Burial Ground National Monument honors the memories of the estimated 15,000 enslaved and free Africans who were interred in the burial ground.
In early September TRUCE (The Renaissance University for Community Education), a youth development program at the Harlem Children’s Zone, WNET.ORG and the National Park Service joined forces to document visitor experience at the African Burial Ground National Monument. After participants toured the site, TRUCE’s film crew, comprised of teenaged women, recorded visitors’ responses on everything from the site’s architecture to unexpected emotional reaction to the memorial. This collaboration was made possible through a grant from the National Park Foundation and shot entirely on-site at 290 Broadway.