Nadler, Goldman, & Gillibrand Introduce Bill to Establish African Burial Ground Museum and Education Center
New York, NY , February 27, 2023
New York, NY – Today, Representative Jerrold Nadler (NY-12) joined Representative Dan Goldman (NY-10) and Senator Kristen Gillibrand (NY) in announcing the introduction of the African Burial Ground International Memorial Museum and Educational Center Act. The legislation, introduced at the end of Black History Month, would establish a museum and education center at the African Burial Ground in Lower Manhattan, a site that currently holds the remains of an estimated 15,000 free and enslaved Africans and early-generation African Americans from the colonial era and is one of the most historically important monuments to Black History in New York.
“I am proud to have authored the legislation that led to the 2006 designation of the African Burial Ground National Monument with then-Senator Hillary Clinton," said Representative Jerrold Nadler. "Our original legislation also called for an education and museum to tell the untold stories of those who helped build New York City and shed light on their perseverance and strength of character in the face of unbearable hardships, discrimination, and exploitation. I am thrilled that my friend Representative Goldman is now leading this important legislation to finally make an International Memorial Museum and Education Center at the site a reality.”
Representative Dan Goldman said: “The African Burial Ground is one of the most historically important monuments to Black History in New York. It is a stark and sobering reminder of the fact that New York and America was built by Black Americans, and to a great extent on the backs of Black Americans. Black History is American History, and now, more than ever, as Black History comes under attack from extreme conservatives who would like to whitewash the history of this nation, we must work to uplift that history. That’s why I am introducing the African Burial Ground International Memorial Museum and Educational Center Act, so that we can establish a museum and education center here at this site, and pass on the lessons and memory of everything it symbolizes.”
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said: “The African Burial Ground is an important part of New York City’s history, serving as a permanent tribute to the enslaved and free African men and women who lived in and helped build the foundations of New York. Establishing a museum and educational center at the African Burial Ground National Monument would memorialize their stories and honor their legacies. I am proud to reintroduce this legislation with my colleagues in the New York delegation and urge my colleagues in Congress to pass this bill.”
Representative Grace Meng said: “Black Americans were one of the most influential people in helping construct our nation from the ground up and played a massive role in helping build our beloved New York City. Throughout the horrors of generations of slavery and constant adversity in the years that followed, they persevered and left a continuing impact on our city. Honoring and recognizing the contributions of this community, contributions that are still being provided today, is not only fair and right, but overdue. I am proud to rejoin this effort that would establish a museum and education center at the African Burial Ground in Lower Manhattan, a site that currently holds the remains of an estimated 15,000 free and enslaved Africans and early-generation African-Americans from the colonial era. The bill for this permanent site, now spearheaded by Congressman Goldman and previously carried by Congressman Nadler, which is also supported by so many key figures in the New York delegation, would be an amazing and heartfelt tribute commemorating the millions of Africans brought to these shores against their will.”
In 2005, Rep. Nadler and then-Senator Hillary Clinton (NY) introduced legislation to establish the African Burial Ground as a National Historic Site and to create a museum and visitors center in partnership with the community.
In 2006, former President Bush responded to Rep. Nadler's and others' efforts and designated the African Burial Ground a National Monument. However, the President did not include plans for a museum and education center. Rep. Nadler first introduced the African Burial Ground International Memorial Museum and Education Center Act in 2007 to direct the National Park Service to acquire a property and to fund the construction and operation of a Museum. He reintroduced the legislation from 2007-2023 before passing leadership of the bill to Representative Goldman in the 118th Congress.
The African Burial Ground Museum would be managed by the National Park Service in consultation with the African Burial Ground Advisory Council, which would be established by the legislation. The museum will also serve as a sister site to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
The museum would host complementary exhibits and foster collaboration with the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C as well as other museums, historically Black colleges and universities, historical societies and educational institutions, creating a stronger network of groups focused on strengthening our understanding of slavery and its lasting impact on our history.