The African Burial Ground

The African Burial Ground: An American Discovery (1994, directed by David Kutz, produced by Kutz Television) Summary: The African Burial Ground (ABG) in Lower Manhattan was used for more than a century but was forgotten from 1700s to 1991. This site contains the graves of hundreds—perhaps as many as 10,000—Africans who were enslaved in the colonial era. The presence of the cemetery and nature of the burials themselves suggest that the enslaved Africans built communities and celebrated their culture and spirituality despite their legal and social disenfranchisement and marginalization. The archaeology of sites such as this, along with community partnership with research design, can elaborate the past of this group. African-Americans built New York and early America, yet little is known about their experience other than what their oppressors tell us—sites like the African Burial Ground provide a distinctly new voice to this story. Film Viewing Guide: Before you view these two sections (Parts 1 & 3) posted below, please make sure you have a way to take notes on the content. While watching please take general notes and address the questions below: 1. In what ways does the discovery of the African Burial Ground (ABG) change our understanding of African American communal life and burial practice in early New York? 2. What conflict surrounded the discovery and removal of burials from this site? 3. How was this conflict resolved, and how does the ABG support new directions in Indigenous Archaeology (or the idea that stakeholder communities have an important role in archaeological research)?

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