A Look at the African Burial Ground in New York

New York is home to dozens of national parks. It is naturally assumed that parks are only meant for recreational purposes; a few trees here and there constitute an environment of relaxation. Yet, parks can also be a way to highlight historical events and offer a sense of belonging. The African Burial Ground in colonial New York is one such example.

Image Source: Wikimedia.org

This park is considered one of the most important archeological finds of the 20th century. It is estimated to date as far back as the 17th and 18th century and marks a forgotten period in New York City history. Four hundred and nineteen sets of human remains were discovered between 1991 and 1992 during the construction of a federal building in Lower Manhattan. Immediately, construction was halted and the remains were sent to the Howard University for identification and research. Those who found the bones were amazed by how many sets of human remains there were. After the examination, it was determined that these skeletons belonged to Africans. The remains were re-interred in 2003 and the land renamed as the African Burial Ground.

African Burial Ground_13
Image Source: aarrisatepa.com

The more than 6-acre land now features an outdoor memorial designed by Rodney Leon as a tribute to all generations of Africans and those with African descent. Buildings and memorials are designed to remind visitors of the history, culture, and community beliefs of Africans. It is hoped that the park will raise awareness of the struggles of the African people and encourage equality among races and descents.

Keith W. Springer lives in New York and loves to visit different types of national parks. His most recent visit was at the African Burial Ground where he felt a deep pull and compassion towards all those who have suffered. Learn more about his visits to other national parks by liking this Facebook page.

The Greatness of the Great Smoky Mountains: A Walk-through

The Great Smoky Mountains was hailed as the most visited park in the U.S. in 2015. Called by the Cherokee shaconage (shah-cone-ah-jey), which roughly means land of the blue smoke, due to the mist hanging over its ancient peaks, this national park accommodates more than 10 million visitors per year. Located along Tennesse-North Carolina border, this 815-square mile park scenic view encompasses the Appachalian Mountains, with about 900 campsites all throughout. Its scope is from the Pigeon River (northeast) to the Little Tennessee River (southwest).

One of the must-see sites in the Great Smoky Mountains is the Cades Cove. Considered a national treasure, this valley awes tourists with its lush fields and breathtaking wildlife. This is a crowd-favorite, especially for families. Aside from its landscape, this place holds a cultural legacy, which still manifests in the architectural backdrop with designs traced back to the early 19th century.

Image source: NPS.gov

Travelers who want to reach the highest point in the Smokies can find it on Clingsman Dome. Getting there involves a 0.5-mile hike or a seven-mile road off Newfound Gap Road. Traveling through the Newfound Gap Road is also an experience travelers shouldn’t miss. The road is a 32-mile stretch, which provides visitors a number of picturesque views, and venues for picnics, and visitor centers.

Another famous activity in the Smokies is trekking, particularly at Mt. LeConte. This area also has a non-camping accommodation, the LeConte Lodge, but going there also requires hiking trails of 5.5 miles (Alum Cave Trail) to 8 miles (Boulevard).

Other activities and areas in the Great Smoky that are worth visiting include:

– Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trails – a six-mile-long trail that goes through various forests, overlooking streams and waterfalls.

– Laurel Falls – considered one of the most famous attractions in the park, this is an 80-foot-high falls, which can be reached through a 2.6-mile hiking trail (roundtrip).

Image source: National-park.com

With its impressive mountain range, and mesmerizing scenery all over, the Great Smoky Mountains should definitely be in every traveler’s bucket list.

I, Keith W. Springer, love my quick strolls to New York’s National parks. Once in a while, I travel outside the Big Apple to go on an adventure in other places, including the Great Smoky Mountains. If you’re interested in these kinds of activities, and topics, as I write about them, follow my blog.