SUGAR LAND, Texas – About 2.5 years after workers stumbled upon the first skeletal remains during construction of a Fort Bend Independent School District Career and Technical Center, the school district published a 500-page report “honoring the Sugar Land 95.”
“It’s not speculation, it’s archeology, a true historical report that documents all of this,” said Fort Bend ISD Superintendent Dr. Charles Dupre. “There are lot of people throughout the nation who will be very interested in learning more about this project.”
The executive summary of the report and the full report are available online here.
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The report includes a roster of 72 African American men who worked and died on Bullhead Convict Labor Camp in the late 1890s and early 1900s, part of “a horrific and state-sanctioned prison labor system,” who were “likely buried” in some of the 95 unmarked graves.
“Laboratory analysis has concluded that the remains of the men who labored and died on Bullhead Camp showed signs of disease, repeated injury, and gunshot wounds likely sustained during escape attempts,” the report said.
The roster includes William Crawford, who records suggest was a 21-year-old married man accused of forgery and was gunned down trying to escape the prison camp.
Ed Jackson was a 20-year-old accused of stealing a horse who died of malaria.
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The University of Connecticut partnered with the Texas Historical Commission to fundraise and conduct genetic analysis to attempt to match the men on the roster with the skeletal remains.
“Researchers have secured funding for the first batch of DNA extractions,” officials wrote on the Fort Bend ISD website. “Additional funding will be needed to fund the remaining DNA extractions, analysis, comparisons to existing databases, public outreach, and genealogical studies.”