A VISIT TO THE AFRICAN BURIAL GROUND NATIONAL MONUMENT

“For All Those Who Were Lost

For All Those Who Were Stolen

For All Those Who Were Left Behind

For All Those Who Were Not Forgotten”

These words are inscribed on a granite wall outside of the African Burial Ground National Monument in New York City .

The wall is hiden by scaffolding now, but the first time that I walked by it , these words spoke to me as they should everyone, not just Americans.

The monument is located right near New York’s City Hall and the oh so many courthouses that may look familiar to you if you watch the t.v. show, Law and Order .

It’s also close by that bridge that seems to dominate the Lower Manhattan skyline, The Brooklyn Bridge .

The monument is part of the United States National Park Service.

It’s open on Tuesdays through Saturdays and the admission is free.

The building is officially located on Elk Street , but right underneath the Elk Street sign is another sign that lets you know that you’re going in the right direction right after you get off the subway at the Chambers Street Station.

The street sign reads “African Burial Ground Way.”

As part of the building is under construction you have to walk around the corner to the entrance.

The monument was officially open in 2006.

As you walk into the building and see all the exhibits, you notice two things.

One that slavery did take place in New York City, and how the city had more slaves than any city in the South including Charleston, South Carolina.

You’ll also see a West African heart shape figure called a Sankofa.

You’ll see it a lot throughout your visit.

The Sankofa asks you to “learn from your past so that one may prosper for your future.”

Each exhibit makes you think.

You learn that not only did Europeans sell slaves, some of their fellow Africans did as well.

You also learn, sadly, that if a slave was ill on the voyage to the New World, they were thrown overboard .

What shocks you more, if the exhibits weren’t shocking enough, is that many African slaves and free Negroes, couldn’t be buried in the city or New Amsterdam , as it was called then.

Remains of 419 men, women, and even children, were discovered in the late 1990’s, and finally given the prosper burial they deserved.

The seven mounds that you see that are now covered by scaffolding are the remains of the 419.

One might say that this monument is sobering.

Some people might say that, but it opens your eyes to a part of American History that many Americans don’t know or seem to care about.

African Burial Ground National Monument

290 Broadway , First Floor

New York City , New York 10007

212-637-2019

LIBERTY TALES – PHILADELPHIA , PENNSYLVANIA – VISITING THE MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION .

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Philadelphia  is  known  for  just  as  many  museums  as  New  York  City .

Everyone  knows  about  all  the  historical  museums  in  the  city  as  well  as  the  Liberty  Bell  and  Independence  Hall .

I recently  visited  Philadelphia  and  went  into  the  newest  museum  in  the  city .

It’s  called  the  Museum  of  the  American  Revolution  and  it  opened  on  April  19th  of  this  year ,  which  just  happens  to  be  the  day  the  colonists  fired  ”  the  shot  heard  round  the  world  ”   at  Lexington  and  Concord .

The  museum  in Philadelphia  is  located  at  South  Third  Street ,  not  that  far  from  Independence  Hall .

Before  you  enter  the  building ,  you  notice  the  cannons  pointing  towards  you ,  right  above  the  name  of  the  museum .

Also  above  you  on  the  wall ,  is a copy  of  the  Declaration  of  Independence .

When  you  enter  the  lobby ,  which  is  very  impressive ,  including  the  marble  staircase ,  you  pay  your  admission   fee.

Hold  on  to  your  ticket ,  because  if you  come  the  next  day ,  that ticket  is your  admission .

Believe  me ,  you  will  need  two  consecutive  days  to  see  everything  in  this  museum .

Even  then ,  two days  just  isn’t  enough  to  see everything .

As  you  can  gather  by  the  name ,  this  museum  tells  the  story  of  the  American  Revolution .

But  it  doesn’t  start  from  the  events  at  Lexington  and  Concord ,  but  what  LED  up  to  those  events  and  what  happened  to  our  country  after  we  achieved  independence.

This  museum  may  seem  boring  to  you  and  possibly  your  children .

However ,  if your  children  are  old  enough  to  know  about  the  Revolutionary  War ,  they  really  need  to  see this  museum  even  if  you  aren’t  doing  a 30 Plus  Teams  Tour  of  Philadelphia .

You think  that  you  know  all  there  is  to  know  about  the  Revolutionary  War  because  you  learned  it  in  school  all  those  years  ago .

After  you  visit  this  museum ,  you  realize  that  you  really  didn’t  know  ANYTHING  about  the  Revolutionary  War .

In  school ,  the war  was  only  talked  about  from  the  Colonists  and  British  side .

There  was  actually  two  other  groups  of  people  whose  point  of  view  we  were  never  told  about .

The Native  Americans  and  the Slaves .

This  museum  makes  you  look  at  the  Revolutionary  War  from  four  different  sides ,  something  a lot  of  American  children  didn’t  learn  in American  History  class .

In every  room  of  the  museum ,  there  are  exhibits .

Children  will  definitely  enjoy  seeing  the  life size  replica  of  John  Paul  Jones’   boat  and  what  it  was  like  to  be  a  sailor  during  the  war .

I  particularly  liked  the  story  of  George  Washington’s  headquarters  at  Valley  Forge .

It was  a  tent ,  just  like  his  men  had .

You  are  allowed  to  take  pictures  at  the  museum ,  but  for  the  exhibit  on George  Washington’s  headquarters ,  no photos  are  allowed  at  all .

Once  you  see  the  exhibit ,  you’ll  understand  why .

I  was  saddened  to  see  the  exhibits  showing  that  while  the  colonists  were  fighting  for  independence  from  England ,  half  the  population  in the 13  colonies  were  slaves .

To  say  that  I  really  enjoyed  myself  at  this  museum  would  be  an  understatement .

As  a  history  major  in  college  oh  so  many  years  ago ,  seeing  the  exhibits  on  Lexington  and  Concord ,  Yorktown  and  all  those  Revolutionary  War  battles  fascinated  me.

I  even  liked  the  exhibit  showing  the  slaves  who  fought  for  the  British  side  because  they  were  promised  freedom .

I  would  strongly  advise  visiting  the  museum  of  the  American  Revolution  while  you’re  in  Philadelphia .

The  museum  gives  you  a  perspective  of  our  history  from  a  different  view .

One  that  is  very  refreshing  to  see .

Spending  two  or  three  hours  in  the  museum  won’t  bore  you ,  nor  will  you  be  disappointed .