Recommended for ages 10 and up.

Green-Wood staff recently discovered that in the nineteenth century, an entire section of our cemetery was reserved for African Americans, even though the Cemetery was not segregated as a rule.

Under the guidance of our director of restoration and preservation, a team of high school students brought this special area, the largest undisturbed Black burial ground north of the Mason-Dixon line, back to life. Learn about the Freedom Lots online and then visit!

Curriculum Connections:

● New York State Social Studies Framework Practices (Grade 6-8)

● Gathering, Interpreting, and Using Evidence

1. Identify, effectively select, and analyze different forms of evidence used to make meaning in social studies (including primary and secondary sources such as art and photographs, artifacts, oral histories, maps, and graphs).

● New York State Social Studies Framework Practices (Grade 7-8)

● Gathering, Interpreting, and Using Evidence

1. Define and frame questions about the United States that can be answered by gathering, interpreting, and using evidence.

2. Identify, select, and evaluate evidence about events from diverse sources (including written documents, works of art, photographs, charts and graphs, artifacts, oral traditions, and other primary and secondary sources).

3. Analyze evidence in terms of historical context, content, authorship, point of view, purpose, and format; identify bias; explain the role of bias and audience in presenting arguments or evidence.


● Device to view the Freedom Lots story map while at Green-Wood.
● Optional: paper and pencil

Before your visit:

● Explore our Freedom Lots project on our website

● Watch this video on the project made by The New Yorker, and read the accompanying article.

● Optional:

● Learn more about life for nineteenth-century Black New Yorkers:

Black Gotham Archive

Part 1: Carla L. Peterson on Black History in 19th-Century New York

Part 2: Carla L. Peterson on Black Life in 19th-Century New York

● Part 3: Carla L. Peterson on Black Life in 19th-Century New York

Part 4: Carla L. Peterson on Black Life in 19th-Century New York

● Learn more about the Colored Orphan Asylum:

Colored Orphan Asylum-MAAP project, Columbia University

The New York Draft Riots and the burning of the Colored Orphan Asylum, The New-York Historical Society

Remembering a Vile Civil War Act, on Fifth Avenue, The New York Times

● Learn more about Black soldiers in the American Civil War:

Black Soldiers in the U.S. Military During the Civil War, Library of Congress

Black Soldiers in the Civil War, American Battlefield Trust

During your visit:

● Dress in comfortable, closed-toe walking shoes, and bring weather-appropriate layers. Keep in mind it is often a bit windier in the Cemetery than on the streets.

● If possible, enter the Cemetery through our Sunset Park Entrance at 35th Street and Fourth Avenue.

● Walk to the Freedom Lots (security can help you find it), by hugging the border of the Cemetery as you walk south.

● Visit the graves outlined on the map on the Freedom Lots project page, and read the background information on each monument. Explore the additional resources about each person.

● Optional: In a notebook, make a three-column table. From left to right, label the columns KNOW, INFER, and WONDER. At each monument, discuss as a family what you know, infer and winder about each person just from looking at their monument. Then consider the information on our website, particularly the primary source evidence we link to. How does each source add to your understanding about this person’s life? What questions about each person do you still have? How might you do further research to learn more?

● Discuss as a family: How do you feel these people should be remembered today? Would you change the information on their monuments?

● If you choose, you may leave flowers or other living plant materials in remembrance of any individual in the Lots.

After your visit:

● Write about your visit. What was it like to see the Freedom Lots in person? How did they compare with other areas of the Cemetery that you saw?
● Draw a memorial that you would place in the Freedom Lots. Think about how you feel the people buried there should be remembered today.
● Send us pictures of your visit on social media using the hashtag #Green-WoodisMyClassroom