Historians are, by the very essence of our trade, drawn toward death and the dead. We seek out the gone, the “came before,” the way it used to be. What drives this particular will to know is perhaps beyond our ways of knowing. But one thing is clear—historians seek out the dead in order to understand the living. If you want to understand how a people lived, what they believed, what they valued, you must look to the way they tended to their dead.
In the spirit of such knowing, join us for an Olio dedicated to unpacking and analyzing the cultural significance of the African Burial Grounds in Lower Manhattan. We will discuss the history of the site, the historical and political debates that surrounded it’s unearthing, and most importantly, we will wrestle with the question: What did it mean to die while enslaved? While death is universal, certainly not all deaths are the same. Relying on the most important and delicate tool of the historian’s craft—empathy—we will try to understand how a people who lived in a world vastly different from our own, made sense of their lives by burying their dead.
*Following the lecture at Federal Hall, we'll walk over as a group to the burial ground and tour the space with our new questions and understanding.
**This Olio is free but please rsvp as seating is limited and additional details will be sent prior to the event.
Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.