- Associated Press - Saturday, August 16, 2014

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) - Eleven years after the remains of 13 Africans were found in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, work is starting on a memorial park dedicated to them and others buried hundreds of years ago in the city’s slave burial ground.

A consecration ceremony is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday in preparation for the start of construction for the park, the Portsmouth Herald reports (https://bit.ly/Y9kERB).

In 2003, during routine utility work, workers found the remains of the Africans, believed to be among more than 200 of African descent buried in that part of the city.

The possibility of finding additional remains “is driving the whole design,” said Dave Allen, deputy city manager. As crews do the work, there will be times when they will have to dig by hand “to ensure we’re as minimally invasive as possible,” he said.

In 2004, the city created the African Burying Ground Memorial Committee to determine how to respect and honor those buried in what was in the 18th and 19th centuries called the city’s Negro Burying Ground. It has been working to raise $1 million for the park.

“This memorial will give a voice to those long buried and it will give the community a place to reflect on this history and acknowledge the accomplishments of some of its earliest residents,” said Vernis Jackson, chairwoman of the African Burying Ground Committee.

The project is expected to take three months to complete.



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