2017 Bright Idea
Winners:
City of Portsmouth, NH
January 1, 2017
Jurisdiction:
New Hampshire

After the unexpected discovery of a more than 300-year-old burying ground for African and African-descended people underneath a city street, the city of Portsmouth closed and transformed the street into an evocative public gathering space to acknowledge its past and to return the site to sacred ground through the reinternment of a forgotten people. Volunteers undertook a six-year campaign to raise $1.2 million to complete the project, and in doing so, worked closely with the city to tell and retell the story of the people the project was meant to honor, engaging the community in increasing and deepening understanding of their shared history.