African Burial Ground National Monument

Submitted by Rodney Leon

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Client: United States General Service Administration

Location: NEW YORK, NY, United States

Completion date: 2007

Artwork budget: $5,000,000

Project Team

Architect

RODNEY LEON

Rodney Leon Architects

Architect

Robert Silman Associates

Industry Resource

Domingo Gonzales Associates

Landscape Architect

Elizabeth Kenedy Landscape Architects

Public Art Agent

United States General Service Administration

Industry Resource

Dr. Gerald Palevsky

Overview

We commemorate this African Burial Ground with the “Ancestral Libation Chamber.” Through Seven Elements the Ancestral Chamber serves to physically, spiritually and ritualistically define the location where the historic re-interment of remains and artifacts of 419 Africans has taken place. It also serves to acknowledge the site as a “Sacred Place” where an estimated 20,000 African are currently buried.

These Seven elements include: The Wall of Remembrance, The Ancestral Reinterment Grove, The Memorial Wall, The Ancestral Chamber, The Circle of the Diaspora, The Spiral Processional Ramp. The Libation Court.

Process

The project is a collaboration between the design team and multiple national and local constituencies. The U.S. General Services Administration was responsible for funding and overseeing construction. The National Parks Service was responsible for education, interpretation, and site maintenance. The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture was responsible for public outreach. Due to the archaeological significance of the site, our team of architects, engineers, and designers collaborated and coordinated with these entities through the design and construction process to inform and involve the public.