Earlier this year, at a school construction site in Sugar Land, Texas, the archaeologists made a dreadful discovery hinting to one of the greatest sacrifices of human life. They found dead bodies of 95 people in February at the spot of the James Reese Career and Technical Centre, which is reportedly a part of the Fort Bend Independent School District. After months-long observation, officials have learned that these people probably were freed African Americans from the early 20th century who were forced to work in convict labour camps.
Many a time, construction sites unveil the deadliest stories which mostly have forgotten in the history. These recent findings in Sugar Land, a suburb southwest of Houston which is building a new technical school on the land possibly highlights the same. On July 16, researchers the Texas Historical Commission and Fort Bend ISD provided an update on the cemetery. For over a century now, these graves were untouched and underground, reveals a time when slavery was illegal, but many blacks were permanently still imprisoned. A team of 10 to 12 archaeologists led by Reign Clark, Cultural Resources
Director with Goshawk Environmental Consulting, Inc. and Archaeological Project Manager for the Excavations at the James Reese Site visited the place. Clark said in a statement, “We believe based on land use and the materials that come from the burials that this cemetery dates between 1878 and around 1910.”
The remains could be of a convict leasing program that was utilised before the state’s ownership of the land. The exhumation tram at the construction site includes archaeologists, graduate and doctoral students hailing from Southern Methodist University, University of Texas and Mississippi State University. They have discovered few artefacts and submitted sketches of the remains unearthed from the historic cemetery.