Rep. Dan Goldman said Monday he plans to reintroduce long-drawn-out legislation to build a museum in a colonial-era African cemetery near Foley Square in lower Manhattan, a site believed to hold the remains of more than 15,000 free and enslaved people. Africans.
The African Burial Ground houses a decade-old visitor center and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1993, two years after excavators discovered the 7-acre burial ground while working on a planned federal government office tower.
Goldman, a Tribeca Democrat, described the burial site as “a stark and sobering reminder of the fact that New York and America were built by, and largely on the back of, black Americans.”
The bill will be introduced in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Goldman’s office said. The bill provides for $15 million in 2024 to establish the museum.
A similar law to create a museum has been languishing in Washington for many years.
“We just need to keep working on it,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, an Upper West Side Democrat who represented the area before his district was struck out last year.
According to his office, Nadler first introduced legislation to create a museum in 2005.
At a press conference with Nadler, Goldman vowed to work hard to find the GOP sponsors of the bill, saying he thought “many” Republicans agreed that Americans needed to face shameful elements of national history.
“Now it’s clearer than ever that we must not only defend but celebrate Black history,” Goldman said on the penultimate day of Black History Month.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (DN.Y.) is set to sponsor the bill in the Senate but did not attend the press conference.
In her statement, she described the burial ground as “an important part of New York’s history, serving as an ongoing tribute to the enslaved and free African men and women who lived and helped build the foundations of New York.”
It was not clear which building would house the museum.