Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England radio personality and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.

"We Stand in Honor of Those Forgotten"

Did you know that an African Burying Ground Memorial Park was located in Portsmouth?

By LibSEEE (CC-BY-SA-4.0 – No Changes Made)
By LibSEEE (CC-BY-SA-4.0 – No Changes Made)

In 2003, when Portsmouth city workers were repairing a sewer line, thirteen decaying coffins were discovered as they dug around the area.  The coffins, it was discovered using DNA testing, were part of an African burying ground that dated back to the mid-1600's.

That area, which is now Chestnut Street in Portsmouth was largely undeveloped at the time.

The discovery of the coffins led to a series of events and experts to right this wrong of these forgotten souls.  Funding was gathered from citizens and other groups and the memorial that exists today was dedicated in May of 2015.

Credit: By LibSEEE (CC-BY-SA-4.0 – No Changes Made)
Credit: By LibSEEE (CC-BY-SA-4.0 – No Changes Made)

Here's a bit more about the background of this site, according to africanburyinggroundnh.org:

The intent is to mark with dignity the location of this sacred place – not with headstones like the City’s other places of burial – but by creating a public place of reverence on this block of urban downtown street, in perpetuity, so that we will never again forget those buried beneath.

As you visit the site, you are reminded what care and respect were taken to build this memorial.  It's very powerful indeed.

There is a non-profit set up to keep up the maintenance of the site.  You can make donations that will go to maintenance and educational efforts by clicking here. 

Address of the Memorial

For your GPS, put in 97 Chestnut Street, Portsmouth, NH.  The site is outdoors and the public is welcome.

Photos by By LibSEEE (CC-BY-SA-4.0 – No Changes Made)

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