Evidence of Things Not Seen: A Black History Tour of Uptown Trinity Church Cemetery

Trinity Cemetery Washington Heights - Briana E. Heard

(Photo: Briana E. Heard)

Trinity Church Cemetery, a bucolic swatch on the cusp of Harlem, is often perceived as an all-white graveyard. In fact, it is a deceptively rich canvas of black history. The cemetery’s once distinct “Colored Ground” has long vanished, yet the ranks of 19th-century headstones still yield a hidden narrative of African-American experience in New York City. Join author and guide Eric K. Washington in exploring some of the cemetery’s countless untold stories from the annals of black Gotham. None of the sites are marked. Rather, it is the evidence of things not seen that forms a poignant and fascinating survey of grave sites that recall the first African Free School; a Founding Father’s enslaved black descendant; the Colored Orphan Asylum; a slave trader’s African nursemaid who sailed the seven seas; the 20th Regiment U.S. Colored troops; and Cadwallader D. Colden, vigilant anti-slavery Mayor of New York City (1818-1821), whose long-lost grave Eric personally rediscovered. Discover these and others in Manhattan’s only still-active cemetery–listed on the National Register of Historic Places–through the lens of its fragmented African-American heritage trail. Cost: $20 / $15 Members.

For more info: The Municipal Art Society of New York.

See below for our pictures of the Trinity Church Cemetery taken by our very own Briana E. Heard.

Also, see Tourists Step Through Time in Trinity Cemetery from Tahiat Mahboob on Vimeo below.


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