Fort Bend ISD will hold a ceremony to honor the remains of the Sugar Land 95 before beginning reinteriment of the remains.
The ceremony is a sign that negotiations between the school district and Fort Bend County Attorney Roy Cordes for a memorial park in Sugar Land have fallen through.
FBISD will have a ceremony on Sunday, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. at the James Reese Career and Technical Center, where community leaders, historians, district staff and representatives from FBISD’s Sugar Land 95 advisory committee have assisted in planning of the ceremony.
“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,” FBISD superintendent Dr. Charles Dupre said in a statement.
“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, the statement said.
The district was in negotiations with Fort Bend County, with the county commissioners discussing to build a memorial park and cemetery. But once it was reported that the county wanted FBISD to give $1 million for the park, talks stalled.
Nearly two years have passed since the first human remains were unearthed at an FBISD construction site.
In all, the remains of 95 individuals were found at the site of the now-completed 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.