|Sankofa? -- A book by David R. Zimmerman|
SANKOFA? - How Racism and Sexism Skewed New York's Epochal Black Research Project.
A sankofa is an African mourning sign. A graveyard for slaves was dug up in Manhattan. New Yorkers hoped the bones would reveal much about these early Black Americans. The feds spent millions for scientists to probe their remains. But 20 years later, little new data has emerged. Journalist Zimmerman asked why.
This is his gripping story of how scientists, with government support, ruined a unique chance to comprehend — and so honor — New York's enslaved Black Pioneers.
The African Burial Ground, a cemetery for Black Slaves in New York City was dug up in the early 1990s. This was one of the most important anthropological projects of the 20th century — not least because it opened a window on a fact of colonial American life, the enslavement in the North of Black People transported from Africa.
Fifteen years of scientific study, at a cost of over $50 million followed.
But the long anticipated results, which have dribbled into the public realm in recent years, have created little comment because little that was of note was discovered. Although much ballyhooed, the research failed.
Writer David Zimmerman spent a decade tracking down scientists who did the work, and interviewing them to discover what they and others did or did not do.