New plaque marks spot of historic Wall Street slave market downtown

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

NEW YORK -- New York City officials have dedicated a plaque marking the site of an 18th-century slave market in lower Manhattan.

The plaque commemorates the open-air slave market that operated on Wall Street from 1711 to 1762.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said at Saturday's dedication ceremony that the slaves played a vital role in building New York City even though their time on earth "literally did not belong to them."

City Council member Jumaane Williams said New York was "built on the backs of slaves."

The marker was first proposed by Christopher Cobb, a Brooklyn-based artist and writer.

The language on the plaque was prepared by the Parks Department and Landmarks Preservation Commission in collaboration with Christopher Moore, former director of research at the Schomburg Center for Black Culture.