GSA Receives Preserve America Award
On May 12, 2008, President Bush and first lady Laura Bush presented a prestigious Preserve America award for the African Burial Ground project.
The African Burial Ground project began in 1991, when, during excavation for a new federal building, workers discovered skeletal remains of the first of more than 400 men, women and children. Further investigation revealed that during the 17th and 18th centuries, free and enslaved Africans were buried in a 6.6 acre burial ground in lower Manhattan outside the boundaries of the settlement of New Amsterdam, which would become New York.
Over the decades, the unmarked cemetery was covered over by development and landfill. Today the site is a National Monument featuring a distinctive memorial that commemorates and communicates the story of the African Burial Ground — the single-most important, historic urban archaeological project undertaken in the United States.
Managed by GSA, the overall project is a testimonial to a positive and collaborative partnership between many parties, including the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Howard University, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the African-American community.
The project was one of four awards presented for exemplary work in the field of historic preservation.