African Burying Ground Trust - 1 Junkins Avenue, Portsmouth, NH 03801 (603) 610-7226
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The Story
Many in our community have asked how Portsmouth's African Burying Ground could have been forgotten. During the 1700s when the Burying Ground was actively used, the area that is now Chestnut Street was the undeveloped outskirts of town. Over time, as Portsmouth grew during the late 1700s and throughout the 1800s, the African Burying Ground was paved over and built over and many forgot of its existence. Today, we recognize this important place as the only known African Burying Ground in all of New England that dates to this era.

The Portsmouth City Council appointed the African Burying Ground Committee and asked the group to determine how best to honor those buried on Chestnut Street.  The Committee – comprised of representatives from the Seacoast African American Cultural Center, Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail, Inc. and the Portsmouth community – worked diligently to carry out that charge. 

The African Burying Ground Committee, with the help and support of the community, the City Council, archaeological professionals and a nationally-known design team, completed the design for the African Burying Ground Memorial Park, We Stand in Honor of Those Forgotten.  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. 

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