A memorial honoring black lives lost to acts of racism will open in Central Park


Image courtesy of Si B on Flickr

A new exhibit honoring black lives lost to racial injustice in the United States will open this month in New York’s historic Seneca Village, once home to a thriving black community that was relocated by the city to make way for Central Park in the 1850s. Presented by the San Diego African American Museum of Fine Art (SDAAMFA), the Say Their Name Commemorative Exhibition is a month-long augmented reality experience kicking off Saturday, September 17 at West 85th Street in Central Park.

Founded in 1825 by free African-American landowners, Seneca Village was a thriving five-acre settlement on the west side of what is now Central Park. The thriving community existed until 1857 when it was destroyed for the construction of the park.

To discover the exhibition, visitors must download the Membit application on their mobile devices. The exhibition presents 50 virtual pedestals each attached with four photos for a total of 212 images.

Guests can view each pedestal and learn more about the individuals displayed, their backgrounds and how they lost their lives. Visitors are encouraged to record their experience on screen to share with friends and family as a tribute to the lives of those on display.

The exhibit features more than 20 New Yorkers who have lost their lives to racial injustice, including Eric Garner, Layleen Cubilette-Polanco, Amadou Diallo, Malcolm X and the 10 victims of the earlier Buffalo mass shooting. this summer. A full list of names can be found at say his namenational register.

“Racial violence has been an integral part of American history since 1660,” said Gaidi Finnie, executive director of the SDAAMFA. “While this violence has affected every ethnic and racial group in the United States, it has had a particularly horrific effect on the lives of African Americans, ranging from slave revolts and lynchings to urban uprisings and calculated murders. The SDAAMFA is honored to bring this exhibit to New York and dedicate it to the ongoing fight to end systemic racism.

Founded on June 16, 2021 in Portland, Oregon, the Say their name Memorial creates traveling memorials for the public and provides support to communities who want to create local exhibits in their neighborhoods.

There have been other Say their names memorials in New York before, including two in Brooklyn, one in Oneonta and one at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown. There have also been numerous other memorials in cities across the country, including Dallas, Texas, Seattle, Washington, and Hoboken, New Jersey.

The museum has collaborated with several New York civic groups and institutions to open Say their name NYCsuch as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

“It is an honor to partner with the Museum of African American Art in San Diego to present what will truly be a historic cultural event,” said Joy L. Bivins, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

“We hope that people will take the time to experience this installation and participate in the memory of those whose lives have been cut short by hatred and racism by reciting the names. We hope these acts will serve to honor their lives and amplify the voices of those who can no longer speak for themselves as we continue to work for meaningful change.


Key words :
Black History, Black Lives Matter, Central Park, Landmarks, Seneca Village

Upper West Side


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