Remains Of Former Slaves And Descendants Closer To Reburial

Barbara Schwarz
June 19, 2019 - 6:34 am
Graveyard

photohomepage/GettyImages

Categories: 

DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - The Sugar Land 95 are closer to moving back to their final resting place. 

They are the bodies of 95 African Americans, including one woman.  The youngest was 14 and the oldest 70 and all were buried in plain, pine boxes between 1878 and 1911. 

They were freed slaves, or descendents, convicted of petty crimes or no crimes at all.  They were forced into a life of backbreaking labor, fed little and were beaten, just as they had been as slaves during and prior to the Civil War.  As cogs in the convict lease system that started after the war, they worked on plantations and for public works projects. The system enriched private companies and state governments.

These bodies were found at a Fort Bend ISD construction sight in April of 2018.  Under a bill signed by Governor Abbott, Fort Bend County will own and oversee the land on which the graves were found.

Reginald Moore, president and chairman of the Convict Lease and Labor Project says the bodies have remained on site in containers.  He wants them lowered back in to the ground.   "I would love for people to give them an apology and acknowledgement for their role in the exploiting of free people.  And also to acknowledge the significance of work that they did for the reestablishment of the state of Texas following the Civil War."

Moore also wants a museum and memorial built on the site.