New York City police are searching for the culprit who left hate-filled graffiti last week on the historic African Burial Ground National Monument in Manhattan. The vandal’s message, penned in black marker on a monument plaque, contained a racist slur and suggested black people should be killed.
The offensive graffiti was quickly removed, but community leaders expressed outrage that no one has been apprehended.
“Some lowlife come and on this monument right back here and write ‘kill the N’s.’ You must be out of your mind if you think we’ll remain silent. We want an arrest,” state Assemblyman Charles Barron said on Sunday, according to CBS News.
(A warning to readers: An uncensored image of the racist graffiti is posted below.)
Located steps from City Hall, the monument marks a burial ground that contains about 15,000 skeletal remains of African-Americans who lived and worked in colonial New York. Those buried at the site, many of whom were slaves, weren’t allowed to be interred in traditional church cemeteries at the time of their deaths.
According to the monument’s website, the site is the “oldest and largest known excavated burial ground in North America for both free and enslaved Africans. It protects the historic role slavery played in building New York City.”
The vandalism at the monument occurred Thursday — the same day that Brooklyn’s Union Temple was vandalized with violent anti-Semitic messages, and the same week that several graffitied swastikas were found in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Days earlier, on Oct. 27, a gunman entered the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and killed 11 people in the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history.
Dermot Shea, NYPD chief of detectives, told reporters last week that the city had seen an increase in “anti-Semitic hate crimes, particularly swastikas, on buildings in parts of the city,” according to The New York Times.
On Sunday, the New York-based group Jews for Racial & Economic Justice responded to the vandalism of the African Burial Ground monument with a message of solidarity.
“Our communities will keep holding each other close. We will not turn on each other. We are in this together,” the group wrote on Twitter.