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Honoring the Sugar Land 95: Ground to be blessed Sunday, November 17

Vigil to occur prior to reinterrment of 95 individuals discovered at FBISD construction site

(FORT BEND ISD) November 6, 2019 – Community members are invited to attend a solemn ceremony that will be held in remembrance of the Sugar Land 95, whose remains were discovered at an abandoned and unmarked cemetery. Nearly two years have passed since the first human remains were unearthed at an FBISD construction site, and the individuals will soon be laid to rest in the same area where they were previously found.

In all, the remains of 95 individuals were found at the site of the James Reese Career and Technical Center. Archaeologists believe the remains are those of incarcerated African-American citizens who were leased to a local plantation to provide labor through the state-sanctioned convict leasing system, following the national abolition of slavery in 1865. It is believed this cemetery was used between 1879-1912.

A “Blessing the Ground” ceremony will be held Sunday, November 17, 2019 at the James Reese Career and Technical Center. The ceremony will begin at 6:00 p.m. and several performances, remarks, and a candlelight walk are planned in honor of the Sugar Land 95. A committee of community members, historians, District staff and representatives from the District’s Sugar Land 95 advisory committee have assisted in the planning of the November 17 event.

“This has been an unprecedented journey for Fort Bend ISD, and the time has now come for us to lay the Sugar Land 95 to rest,” said Fort Bend ISD Superintendent Dr. Charles Dupre.

“These 95 souls suffered a grave injustice during their time on earth, but we remain committed to ensuring that their lives are not forgotten, and that our students will learn about this part of our history for generations to come.”

Burial of the Sugar Land 95 will occur in private in the days and weeks following the ceremony, with a second memorial event planned upon its conclusion.

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