On November 12, there was a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the reclamation, renaming, and rededication of the Olde Towne of Flushing Burial Ground on 46th Avenue at 165th Street in Flushing.
Over the last ten years, the conservancy has worked to make sure that the burial ground is maintained, that appropriate signage is installed at all of the gates, and that memorial stones are erected to honor the approximately 1,000 souls resting there.
Especially important to the conservancy is recognition that is due for four of the people interred there; the four people who actually had headstones on site.
Unfortunately, those headstones were removed and destroyed nearly 80 years ago by the City of New York in an act of indifference and intolerance.
A playground and wading pool were built over the cemetery in the 1930s. Bones were dug up during excavation, and the remains were treated with great disrespect and dishonor.
Most buried there were Native and African Americans. A large percentage of the interred were children.
Today, the site is a beautiful, peaceful and meditative area. However, for the conservancy there is still much to accomplish, including placement of memorial stones.
The conservancy will be reviewing city plans for memorial stones in January, and we are thankful to Borough President Melinda Katz and predecessor Helen Marshall for setting aside funds for the memorial stones.
The conservancy looks forward to working with the Parks Department, Design Commission, elected leaders, local residents and others to ensure that those resting at the Olde Towne of Flushing Burial Ground are treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve.
Mandingo Osceola Tshaka
Olde Towne of Flushing Burial Ground Conservancy