Fort Bend ISD announces plans to lay Sugar Land 95 to rest (7/25/2019)
FORT BEND ISD (July 25, 2019) – The 95 individuals discovered at an abandoned and forgotten cemetery are another step closer to being laid to rest, a year and a half after a worker at an FBISD construction site unearthed the first human remains. The District has announced it will move forward with reinterment while it continues to work toward finalizing an agreement with Fort Bend County to convey the cemetery to the County so that the County can operate and maintain it.
The remains will be reinterred at the same site where they were found. As part of the ongoing negotiations with the County, the District also plans to dedicate 10 acres of land to the County for a future planned memorial park where members of the community can visit and pay tribute to the lives once forgotten from history.
“This has been an unprecedented journey for Fort Bend ISD,” said FBISD Board President Jason Burdine. “We are thankful for the offer of county leaders to join us in this effort to memorialize these individuals and learn as much as we can about the convict-leasing system. We appreciate our local lawmakers who worked together to support the legislative changes that made it possible for us to take these steps forward.”
Materials necessary to support future DNA analysis are being collected before the planned reinterment and will be curated at the Texas Archaeological Research Laboratory at the University of Texas, preserving the ability for potential descendants to be identified.
As previously reported, after extensive exhumation and analysis, archaeologists believe the remains are those of convicts who were leased by the State to provide convict labor to a local plantation. Fort Bend ISD has adopted a locally-developed social studies standard related to the state-sanctioned convict-leasing system and the local history associated with the Sugar Land 95, and plans to incorporate the discovery into curriculum beginning in the 2019-20 school year.
“Teaching our students and community about this oppressive and often unrecognized chapter of our local history remains one of our top priorities, as we are first and foremost an educational institution,” said FBISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Charles Dupre.