A new museum may be built to pay homage to dozens of deceased Black prisoners who worked on plantations more than a century ago. A prisoners’ memorial was recently suggested after 94 sets of remains were discovered at an unmarked cemetery in Fort Bend County, Texas.
“We’re trying to move forward in a positive way, getting them memorialized, getting them a museum put together, giving them recognition,” Moore told CBS affiliate KHOU 11.
Crews discovered the hidden cemetery during the construction of a $59 million career and technical center in April. Forty-eight sets of bodies were already exhumed at the active archological site, with the bodies believed to have been buried between 1878 and 1910. As to how the prisoners were killed or who buried them, those questions are unanswered.
The majority of the bodies are men with only one woman, running the gamut from 14 to 70 years of age, Catrina Banks Whitley, a bio archeologist working at the site, said. The exhuming process will continue until a later unnamed date.
In addition to the remains, artifacts were also found at the site.
“Some of these chains, especially the ones that date prior to the Industrial Revolution, some of them have swivels on them, which were more than likely utilized in chain gangs,” Reign Clark, the Archaeological Project Manager at the site, said.
Moore believes the bodies should be buried nearby at the Old Imperial Farm Cemetery in Sugar Land, Texas. There are likely to be more unmarked cemeteries that will be discovered, experts said.
The Fort Bend ISD Career and Technical Center will cover the cemetery ground after the exhumating is completed, with plans to finish the building next fall.