"Forgotten" African-American cemetery discovered under Florida high school

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/11/20/forgotten-african-american.html


The first clue was when the cafeteria walls started oozing blood and hissing “get ouuuutt!”

Seriously, I hope the high school finds a way to honour the people buried under it.


So far, ground-penetrating radar revealed 145 coffins just a few feet below the surface.

Yes, it an issue, but everyone back to class now.


I nominate Jordan Peele to write and direct this one.


I am reminded of this rather scathing critique of It Chapter 2


That is true, it should not be exploited.

Want to know of built-over defunct cemeteries? Then look at OLD maps of Brooklyn, NY… which I did many years after being told by a couple of impish nuns at our parochial school (the now also defunct Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, aka, St. Mary’s), that our school was erected over a cemetery; incorrect. I found that it was actually located on the street corner west of our school. My map search also ‘dug up’ many other graveyards, and in a wide range of sizes! For a full picture, though, you’d have to walk all of B’klyn for tiny hidden plots and overgrown fenced-in ‘backyard’ lots adjacent to locations formerly occupied by churches… and by homesteads with family plots! In fact, all five boroughs are a dream for taphophiles.


:musical_note: They were digging a new foundation in Manhattan
And they discovered a slave cemetary there
May their souls rest easy
Now that lynching is frowned upon
And we’ve moved on to the electric chair
And I wonder who’s gonna be president, tweedle dum or tweedle dumber?
And who’s gonna have the big blockbuster box office this summer?
How about we put up a wall between houses and the highway
And you can go your way, and I can go my way

Except all the radios agree with all the tvs
And all the magazines agree with all the radios
And I keep hearing that same damn song everywhere I go
Maybe I should put a bucket over my head
And a marshmallow in each ear
And stumble around for
Another dumb-numb waiting for another hit song to appear

People used to make records
As in a record of an event
The event of people playing music in a room
Now everything is cross-marketing
Its about sunglasses and shoes
Or guns and drugs
You choose
We got it rehashed
We got it half-assed
We’re digging up all the graves
And we’re spitting on the past
And you can choose between the colors
Of the lipstick on the whores
Cause we know the difference between
The font of 20% more
And the font of teriyaki
You tell me
How does it… make you feel?

You tell me
What’s … real?
And they say that alcoholics are always alcoholics
Even when they’re as dry as my lips for years
Even when they’re stranded on a small desert island
With no place within 2,000 miles to buy beer
And I wonder
Is he different?
Is he different?
Has he changed? what’s he about?..
Or is he just a liar with nothing to lie about?

Am I headed for the same brick wall
Is there anything I can do about
Anything at all?
Except go back to that corner in Manhattan
And dig deeper, dig deeper this time
Down beneath the impossible pain of our history
Beneath unknown bones
Beneath the bedrock of the mystery
Beneath the sewage systems and the PATH train
Beneath the cobblestones and the water mains
Beneath the traffic of friendships and street deals
Beneath the screeching of kamikaze cab wheels
Beneath everything I can think of to think about
Beneath it all, beneath all get out
Beneath the good and the kind and the stupid and the cruel
There’s a fire that’s just waiting for fuel :musical_note:


Emerald Morrow?

Any relation to Edward R.?

A similar story happened here in Rio some years ago. One lady was renovating an old house to make a warehouse or something.

One day one of the workers found a bone when digging the floor of the house. Digging deeper, he found other bones. Startled, the old lady called the authorities who confirmed that this was an old lost cemetery for slaves who died shortly after being landed in the city.




Yes, there are lots of cemeteries around New York that were later built on, without moving the bodies elsewhere. I lived in Greenwich Village for many years, and there are several around Washington Square, including the park itself - the eastern 2/3 of the park has about 20,000 bodies buried beneath it today, it’s an old potter’s field that closed in the 1820s. The others were private church cemeteries, one from a black church, the others from white churches.

Perhaps this African American cemetery was built over to erase it, and it was the South, so of course racism was involved since it was a black-people-only cemetery, but it would be good to check for other, non African American potters fields in that part of the state from that time - were they also built over without moving the bodies when they filled up? It may not have been as much of a racial thing as we would assume today. Building over abandoned cemeteries or potter’s fields in general was a common practice in the North, regardless of race, at least in the 1800s and earlier, so something similar may have happened here.

There’s so much real racism in the world, it’s good to make sure that something that looks racist actually is before we add it to the pile.


Better to find that you’re on top of an old graveyard than an autoshop, paint factory, or other nasty industrial process that was never cleaned up.


Lots of history in that part of the country.

Adjacent to my old high school is the Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument in Fort Greene Park, under which are the buried remains of >10,000 prisoner’s of the British forces during the American Revolution. It was always a bit strange playing some touch football there sometimes immediately after school.

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Unless you’re Craig T. Nelson. Then it’s just a huge mess for you and your family.


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