Although Black History is filled with historic accomplishments and glowing accolades by prominent African Americans, there also was a lot of disrespect done to our ancestors while they were alive and sadly in death as well.
An entire cemetery for Black people filled with hundreds of graves was just discovered, the fourth in recent years, buried underneath the site of what’s now an office building in Clearwater, Florida.
As NPR reports, the discovery was made possible thanks to efforts set forth by the Clearwater Heights Reunion Committee, a group of local residents that remember the town prior to it becoming an urban renewal. Many members began questioning what ever happened to the area’s St. Matthews cemetery, which sold in the 1950s and was supposed to be given the respect of moving graves to a new location. As you might’ve guessed, that didn’t happen as most of them got buried and built over.
Archaeologists eventually unearthed the graves using ground penetrating radar and eventually excavation.
Take a look below at why this may just be the beginning of Black cemetery discoveries, via NPR:
“Archaeologists believe several hundred people may be buried under the parking lot and a building that now stands on the site. It’s not the only African American cemetery recently rediscovered in Clearwater. A little over a mile away, an investigation has found dozens of graves at the site of a now shuttered public school. In both cases, community members are working with local officials to decide what to do next.
And it’s not just happening in Clearwater. Just across the bay in Tampa, investigations conducted by the ‘Tampa Bay Times’ helped uncover at least two more African American cemeteries that were abandoned and built over. Some of the graves are under the parking lot at Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays. Hundreds more were found at the site of a public housing complex.”
This unfortunately isn’t just a Florida problem, either. A few months ago we reported on a historic Black cemetery in Maryland that was turned into an apartment complex parking lot, and over the summer a New Jersey church came together to clean up a burial ground for Black Civil War veterans that became a breeding ground for overgrown weeds, fallen trees and debris.
Out of respect for those that existed during a time when Black people weren’t seen or treated as equals, we can only hope that more desecrated Black cemeteries are discovered and given the proper care they deserve.
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Forgotten Black Cemetery With Hundreds Of Graves Unearthed In Florida was originally published on blackamericaweb.com