FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas - A group of community activists said they still have concerns about plans for remains found at the construction site of a new Fort Bend ISD school.
The activists met with the district's superintendent on Monday.
What are the concerns?
The National Black United Front presented a list of 15 questions to Dr. Charles Dupre, among them: what efforts are being made to identify direct descendants?
"DNA testing must be done before the reburial process takes place. Those 95 graves that were found were not empty graves filled with nothings and nobodys there are families attached to every last one of those bodies found," said community activist Deric Muhammad.
What are the district's plans to memorialize the site?
The district has not publicly released any plans for a permanent memorial, but in a FBISD school board resolution adopted July 23, said it remains committed to "identify, honor, and preserve these human remains with the utmost dignity. Not just as 94 unmarked graves, but as 94 human beings whose stories deserve to be known."
"Right now they're just ideas. We haven't seen any actual plans for memorials," said Kofi Taharka of the National Black United Front.
Where will the remains end up?
FBISD says they have entered a memorandum of understanding to relocate the remains to the old Imperial Prison Farm Cemetery.
Questions from the National Black United Front:
- Has construction been stopped on the site?
- What measures are being taken to ensure that no other remains are located on the site?
- What is the process that remains are being subject to upon discovery including removal, testing etc.? What laws govern this process?
- What African, African-American professionals are involved in the archeological and or testing process?
- How will the discovery be documented?
- What is proposed to happen to the remains?
- Has there been a ceremony considered, if so who is planning for the solemn occasion?
- What efforts are being made to identify direct descendants?
- What other governmental entities are involved in the decision making? Is there an intergovernmental task force organized to conduct this project?
- Has the Governor and Board of Directors of Imperial Sugar Company been contacted?
- What type of monuments, museums are planned to memorialize this history including scale and content?
- What innovative educational projects will be implemented by the school district for the student body and other school districts?
- Has an official apology been authored by any entity?
- What funding has been secured to document and properly memorialize this find?
- Has there been any research done on similar finds such as the African Burial Ground Project in New York?
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