Lonely Planet Writer

76-Second Travel Show: 'New York's African Burial Ground'

Set between the Brooklyn Bridge, the World Trade Center site and Chinatown, New York's African Burial Ground National Monument has mostly been passed by without notice since it was accidentally discovered in 1991.

But a few weeks ago, a new museum opened at 290 Broadway in Lower Manhattan that details the history of the only cemetery for possibly 15,000 Africans and African descendants during the colonial period, as well as the arduous process of making the 6.6-acre site a national monument.

The New York Times' mixed review suggested emotion played too big of a role in some exhibits, but it immediately feels something like essential New York to me. Nothing else in town tells of the role slavery played in building the city. And an impressed visitor from the Central African Republic told me she never expected to see something like this here. 'These are happier times.'

It's worth seeing, and it's easily combined with a look at Lower Manhattan sites. Admission is free, and there's a film to see. Be sure to see the burial mounds and modern ancestral libation chamber around the back of the building on Duane St -- on the small site saved from a construction project of the adjoining federal building.