As one of more than a dozen national parks oriented to African-American history, African Burial Ground National Monument has a significant role to play in celebrating Black History Month during February.
African Burial Ground National Monument preserves a tract of land in New York City that was used as a burial ground for more than 15,000 blacks, both free and enslaved, during the 17th and 18th centuries. Discovered in 1991 at a construction site in Lower Manhattan, the nearly seven-acre site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1993 and is considered one of the country's most important urban archeological sites. On February 27, 2006, President George W. Bush proclaimed the site a national monument under National Park Service administration, making it America's 390th national park. The park was officially dedicated in October 2007 and now has a memorial and visitor center.
The park's February events schedule has four principal components:
• At 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, February 15, the park will host an "African Textiles" program that explores the significance and importance of textiles used throughout African culture such as Kente, Adinkra, and Mud cloth.
• Each Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. , park rangers present Gallery Talks that offer an in-depth look at the visitor center and various themes addressed at the park. The topic for February 2 was "Burial Practices and Pinkster," and the featured activity on February 9 was a reinterment ceremony. The two remaining presentations will focus on "Rediscovery" (Feb. 16) and "The Slave Revolt of 1741" (Feb. 23). Since Gallery Talks are subject to change due to staff availability, visitors should be sure to check before going to the park.
• A special arts and crafts workshop was scheduled for two Saturdays during Black History Month. Called the Family Memory Box Workshop, it offers participants an opportunity to create a memory box and explore the ways that individual and collective artistic expressions can be made through a variety of materials. The first workshop was held last Saturday. The remaining one will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 26.
• An Afternoon Film Series that is held at 1:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays focuses on different sites throughout the National Park Service and how each celebrates Black History Month.
All events are open to the public and free of charge, but reservations are required. For additional information, phone (212) 637-2019 or visit the park's homepage.