Sunday, February 24, 2008

Virtual Book Tour: Day 24

My family flew from our home near Los Angeles, California into New York City last June to begin a week-long tour of historic sites. Many stops along our itinerary included historic African American sites. The very first place we visited was the African Burial Ground. Located at African Burial Ground Way, the memorial was still under construction.

The large sign posted said:
This enclosed area is a preserved part of the original AFRICAN BURIAL GROUND. Closed in 1794, African Burial Ground once covered more than five acres—about five city blocks. It is estimated that as many as 20,000 or more African men, women and children were buried in the original cemetery. Unearthed during building construction in 1991, the site is now a National Historic Landmark and within the New York City African Burial Ground and Commons Historic District. This surviving remnant of the burial ground is dedicated to the people who are buried here and to all who were enslaved n the city’s early history from 1626 until July 4, 1827, Emancipation Day in New York.

Everything seemed as if it was frozen in time. The day was quiet. It was a Sunday so there were no busy construction workers or other tourists. We had time to walk around the site…and think about America’s past…and wonder about our future…

We knew that the very ground we walked on was holy ground. Underneath our feet were memories of pain and suffering and sorrow. Yet as we looked at the memorial stones standing ready to be put in place, our hearts felt hope for the days and years ahead.

If you would like to learn more about African Burial Ground, read the insightful book, Breaking Ground, Breaking Silence by Joyce Hansen and Gary McGowan.

You can also visit these informative sites:
The African Burial Ground
Schomburg Center’s The African Burial Ground
National Park Service African Burial Ground
African Burial Ground Opens in Manhattan
African Burial Ground Memorial Opens in New York City

Coming tomorrow:
On Monday, Day 25 of the Virtual Book Tour, we’ll make our last stop of the tour to visit the website of a wonderful program that teaches kids to write. Then we’ll finish the tour on Tuesday when I’ll announce the winners of the 5 prizes I’m giving away!

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