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Another Unmarked Black Cemetery Identified in Florida

Thursday, December 23, 2021

CLEARWATER, FLORIDA—NPR reports that ground-penetrating radar has revealed an unmarked African American cemetery under a parking lot and a building in western Florida’s city of Clearwater, just a mile away from the public school where dozens of unmarked graves were found last year. The city paid for the hundreds of graves at the site of St. Matthew’s Cemetery to be moved by developers in the 1950s, ahead of the construction of a shopping center. Antoinette Jackson of the University of South Florida said that as the region rapidly grew during the post-war era, Black communities were wiped out for other uses. “Oftentimes we don’t use the word lost or abandoned,” she said. “We are really saying erased, physically erased from the landscape for other purposes.” Jackson has helped to create a website tracking the discovery and investigation of lost Black cemeteries “to put a face and stories and people and communities on the map and in the public domain,” she explained. To read about excavations at a Union Army camp in Kentucky where African American soldiers and their families lived, go to "A Path to Freedom."

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