FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas – The fate of the Sugar Land 95 was one of the topics of Monday night's Fort Bend Independent School District school board meeting.
Members of the public and several political leaders were all on hand to try to convince the board to leave the remains of 95 African-Americans where they were discovered at a construction site.
"Their legacy as free laborers for Imperial Sugar literally built this city, which makes it possible for all of us to be sitting here today," Swatara Olushola, a member of the district's advisory committee told the board. "I think it would be an atrocity to skate over that."
Rep. Al Green, who represents the 9th District in the U.S. House of Representatives, was one of the political leaders in attendance.
"This is an opportunity for us to show the world that we will respect the remains of people regardless as to who they are, regardless as to what their station in life was," Green said.
Groups urging the district to leave the remains not only want a memorial. They also are asking for five additional acres at the site to be given as a memorial park for the deceased.
"We want to have art there," said Reginald Moore, president of the Convict Leasing and Labor Project. "We want to have an educational center. We want to be able to house any artifacts."
Others said it's about the dignity of the deceased whose remains were found.
"We also want to know who these people are," Olushola said. "These are people. They have names. They have stories. They have family."