African American Cemeteries Forum
Harlem African Burial Ground
On January 26 2010, an open Town Hall will take place at Elmendorf Reformed Church in East Harlem, New York City (171 East 121st Street) to inform the community of the existence of the colonial African Burial Ground located at 126th Street by the Harlem River on the East Side of Manhattan. Currently, the site of the cemetery is partially covered by a Department of Transportation Bus Depot; further construction on the land, associated with the repair and restoration of the Willis Avenue Bridge, is proposed, currently without reference to the rich and sacred history of the site. The Harlem African Burial Ground Taskforce has as its goal the protection, preservation and commemoration of this sacred ground. To date, in the records of at least four churches, one Dutch Reformed Church and three Episcopal churches, the names of at least forty families buried in the Harlem African Burial Ground have been found. Preliminary research has enabled the historians on the Taskforce to identify three generations of one family extending from the mid-18th century to the mid-19th century. The co-chairs of the Taskforce are Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito of the New York City Council and Pastor Patricia Singletary of the Elmendorf Reformed Church, founded in 1660. The African Burial Ground was originally associated with this church, the oldest church in Harlem.
If you have information about the Harlem African Burial Ground, if you have questions about it or if you would like to be notified about upcoming public meetings, forums and celebrations being planned by the Taskforce, please contact me. With all members of the Taskforce, I look forward to your queries, comments and contributions.