Gate of the Exonerated

The first entrance to be named since 1862, the Gate of the Exonerated commemorates the experience of the Exonerated Five and honors all of those wrongly convicted of crimes.

Dedicated on December 19, 2022—the 20th anniversary of the Exonerated Five’s vacated convictions—the Gate of the Exonerated is the first and only addition to Central Park’s official entrance names since the 19th century. It is the product of more than two years of extensive, in-depth dialogue among the Harlem community and a response to their desire for healing and belonging in the aftermath of the case and its impact on Black and Latino New Yorkers. 

Discover How the Gate of the Exonerated Came to Be

In 1989 a group of teenagers—Antron McCray (15), Kevin Richardson (15), Raymond Santana (14), Korey Wise (16), and Yusef Salaam (15)—were unjustly convicted for the rape of a female jogger in Central Park. The way the media covered their trial and wrongful conviction played on racist narratives and ignored the perspectives of the teenagers and their communities. In 2002, the convictions of the Central Park Five, as they were formerly known, were vacated by the Supreme Court of the State of New York.

In partnership with the City of New York, NYC Parks, and Manhattan Community Board 10 (representing Central Harlem), the Conservancy unveiled the Gate as a way to permanently commemorate the struggle of individuals wrongly convicted and the Exonerated Five's story.

The experience of the Exonerated Five and their families was not exceptional. It fits a historical pattern of unjust arrests and wrongful convictions of Black and Latino young people in the United States. The Gate of the Exonerated means to shed light on the prejudice, hatred, and wrongful incarcerations that are a product of inequities inherent in the justice system, and ultimately to honor all those affected by the inequities of the system.

“We envision a permanent commemoration to the fortitude and resiliency of the exonerated men and to the need for social justice reform.”

Manhattan Community Board 10, 2020

Located on 110th Street between Malcolm X Boulevard and Fifth Avenue (near the neighborhood where the Exonerated Five once lived), the Gate of the Exonerated reflects the ideal that inspired the Park’s entrance names in the 1860s: to acknowledge the City’s people, their work, and their stories.

Conservancy staff member engraves Gate of the Exonerated into the stone. Raymond Santana Cicely Harris Betsy Smith Kevin Richardson Yusef Salaam Raymond Santana

Learn More From Our Partners

“Gate of the Exonerated”- Justice 4 the Wrongfully Incarcerated
This website serves as a repository of information and resources to inform audiences on wrongfully incarcerated cases in a way that can inspire people to take action and be part of the change.

The Innocence Project
The Innocence Project works to free the innocent, prevent wrongful convictions, and create fair, compassionate, and equitable systems of justice for everyone. Its work is guided by science and grounded in antiracism.

The Fortune Society
The Fortune Society believes in the power of people to change. It helps individuals with justice involvement rebuild their lives, through innovative services and advocacy.

Take a Deeper Dive into the History and Community Involvement in the Park's North End