Fort Bend ISD continues to work with community groups and stakeholders to ensure appropriate and dignified memorialization of the 95 people whose remains were discovered at the abandoned historic cemetery on the construction site of the James Reese Career and Technical Center in Sugar Land.
In addition, Fort Bend ISD entered into an agreement with the City of Sugar Land recently as a first step toward the planned reburial of remains at the Old Imperial Prison Farm Cemetery, which is operated and maintained by the City of Sugar Land. The agreement comes as an extensive exhumation process continues with additional details to be finalized at a future date. This process is guided by the expertise of the Texas Historical Commission.
Fort Bend ISD is working with the Mr. Reginald Moore and The Convict Leasing and Labor Project (CLLP); the Fort Bend Historical Association, which operates the Fort Bend Museum; subject-matter experts such as Dr. Helen Graham, with Houston Community College, George Mason University and the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society; and other stakeholders such as the National Black United Front. These groups were invited to the site today to get a better understanding of the district’s continued diligence to ensure appropriate protocols and processes are being taken during the extensive exhumation and analysis underway.
The ability to identify descendants is one of the shared goals for all of the stakeholders and the district remains open to partnering with other organizations to identify possible funding and hopefully permission for this destructive analysis. While we understand that the National Black United Front has expressed concerns on various issues such as intellectual control over the project and reparations for past injustices, Fort Bend ISD remains committed to continuing the dialogue with all appropriate parties as we move forward toward appropriate reburial.
As previously shared, preliminary analysis indicates the remains located at the site are most likely those of individuals who were part of the convict leasing program. This discovery has brought a dark chapter of our community’s history back to light, and it is our intent to continue to partner with our community and rebury the individuals in an appropriate manner.