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Pine Street African Burial Ground - Happy Hour Fundraiser & Info Session

Join The Kingston Land Trust and Harambee Kingston NY at Rough Draft on Monday to learn about their goal to raise $200,000 by February 28 for the protection of an African burial ground on Pine Street in Kingston. Representatives will be on hand from 5 to 7 p.m. to distribute material and answer questions, and Rough Draft will be donating a portion of sales from any purchases made throughout the day.

About the campaign:

Between the mid 1700s and late 1800s, countless enslaved and free blacks were buried in an African burial ground here in Kingston. More than 125 years ago when the City of Kingston expanded, the property ended up in private hands and the burial ground was mostly forgotten. Its existence has not been officially acknowledged, partially due to the lack of remaining headstones, despite robust historic documentation and the findings of human remains of African descent.

Recently, ground-penetrating radar provided new evidence of the numerous graves on site that have long been ignored. It is time to bring this history to light.

Today, most of the burial ground is contained within a private residential property that is in foreclosure proceedings. If this site goes to auction, it will be at risk of remaining in private hands and being developed, resulting in the continued disregard and potential disruption of these graves.

The Kingston Land Trust, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that protects, creates access to, and activates land for the common good, in partnership with Harambee Kingston NY, a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose goal is to bring the community together through celebration and awareness of African American History, plans to purchase this site to preserve it in perpetuity, and open it for public use.

The Kingston Land Trust has committed $40,000 of its own funds to cover the pre-purchase, closing costs, and part of the purchase price. The bank’s loan servicing agent has set the price at $127,500. Harambee’s Protect the Pine Street African Burial Ground Coalition aims to raise an additional $160,000 to help the KLT cover the purchase as well as to shore up the existing building against further deterioration.