Fort Bend ISD halts legal actions related to 95 graves found at construction site

Fort Bend Independent School District's board of trustees announced Thursday that it will halt further legal actions in connection with the historic cemetery discovered at the site of the James Reese Career and Technical Center, according to a news release from the school. 

The announcement comes on the heels of a board meeting in which the board of trustees voted unanimously to authorize the superintendent to negotiate an interlocal agreement with Fort Bend County, according to the news release. 

The decision will keep the remains of 95 incarcerated African-Americans at the construction site in Fort  Bend County. 

Full statement from FBISD Board President Jason Burdine:

“I am proud of the decision the Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees made during Monday’s Board meeting to authorize the District to begin negotiations with Fort Bend County to find a solution on how best to memorialize the Sugar Land 95.

"Fort Bend ISD agrees that the Sugar Land 95 need to be memorialized at the site of discovery. We have embraced the offer made by Fort Bend County to work with us to create an appropriate memorial for the victims of the convict leasing system. We are hopeful and optimistic that by working together with the County these bodies can be reinterred so they can rest in peace. Should we encounter any obstacles to this solution, we will look to the State of Texas, other elected officials, as well as lawmakers, to assist us in finding a solution.

"We appreciate and welcome the County’s recent commitment to work with the District toward a solution that preserves the story and memory of those buried on this historic site. In order to show our good faith and commitment to working toward a comprehensive solution, the District will halt all further court action while we explore all available options with the County. The District’s plan to build the portion of the building that is within the cemetery area has been cancelled.

"We are confident that our partnership with the County will result in a solution that allows the historic cemetery to operate by a legally authorized entity.

"We look forward to working with local elected officials and community leaders to implement this solution as quickly as possible and keep our promise to honor and educate the public and future generations about the 95 souls who were previously lost to history.”