What experts reveal about human remains found on Fort Bend ISD construction site

HOUSTON – Nearly five months after human remains were found on a Fort Bend ISD construction site, experts now say they believe they know more about who is buried there.

Since February, 95 graves have been identified at the location of the new James Reese Career and Technical Center. 

In June, a court granted FBISD permission to begin exhuming the remains as dozens of local and out of state archeologists study the site. 

According to the district, preliminary analysis indicates the remains may be those of African-Americans who were part of the state's convict leasing system. 

The state program, created in the post-Emancipation Reconstruction era, notoriously imprisoned newly freed slaves on often bogus charges and then leased them back to the plantation owners who still needed cheap labor.

Archeologists are studying the bones to learn how those people lived and died.

"We can see the majority of the individuals doing extremely heavy labor for a very long time," said Catrina Whitley from the New Mexico Office of Archeological Studies.

Whitley said of the 95 graves exhumed so far, all of the remains belong to people of African-American descent and all are male, except for one woman. They range in age from 14 to 70.


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