National News

Racist Slur Defaces African Burial Ground Monument in Lower Manhattan

Posted November 2, 2018 8:05 p.m. EDT

NEW YORK — The African Burial Ground Monument in Lower Manhattan, a treasured site for the nation’s black community, was defaced with a racist slur Thursday, authorities said.

In black marker, a vandal scrawled “Kill,” followed by the slur, on a plaque at the monument. Authorities said they did not have a suspect in the incident.

Discovered in 1991 during construction of an office building, the 6-acre burial ground is estimated to contain 15,000 intact skeletal remains of New York City’s Colonial African-American community, who were not allowed at the time to be interred in traditional church cemeteries. Many were slaves.

The monument, which is steps from City Hall, is considered a literal and figurative symbol of New York’s prominent and long-ignored role in Colonial African-American culture.

The graffiti was quickly scrubbed from the site on 290 Broadway. But soon after, the city was jarred by another incident of hate when “Kill All Jews” and other anti-Semitic slurs were discovered written inside a Brooklyn synagogue.

The incidents came less than a week after a gunman opened fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue last Saturday, killing 11 and wounding six.

“Each day is getting worse,” said Hazel N. Dukes, president of the New York state conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

According to a report from California University’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, hate crimes have increased in major U.S. cities over the last two years.

There were 339 hate crimes reported in New York City in 2017, according to the report. This year, 290 hate crimes in the city have been reported to the Police Department.