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History Center panel to explore rediscovery of Tampa’s forgotten Zion Cemetery

The Tuesday discussion features the Tampa Bay Times staffers whose reporting helped show that hundreds of bodies remain in the ground.
This image is a 3D laser scan of Robles Park Village showing grave-shaped objects beneath the ground in relation to buildings at the public housing complex. The single image is made from two data sources and aligns with historical maps of the former Zion Cemetery. [Cardno] [Cardno]
Published Oct. 4
Updated Oct. 4

TAMPA — A special report June 23 in the Tampa Bay Times revealed that a major African-American cemetery had vanished from public view a century ago and that 800 or more bodies might still lie beneath the ground.

Paul Guzzo, Tampa Bay Times staff writer. [BORCHUCK, JAMES | Tampa Bay Times]

In the weeks that followed, ground-penetrating radar confirmed the report, people living on the property are being relocated, and steps are being taken to turn the 2½-acre property along North Florida Avenue into a memorial park.

REDDIT CONVERSATION: A lively discussion of Zion Cemetery on the social media channel

What becomes of Zion Cemetery remains to be seen, but the story so far is the subject of a free panel discussion open to the public 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Tampa Bay History Center downtown.

The Story of Zion Cemetery, co-sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times, is the latest in the History Center’s series Florida Conversations.

SPECIAL REPORT: Nearly 400 people buried in Tampa are missing. What happened to Zion Cemetery?

The panel will feature Paul Guzzo and James Borchuck, the Times staff members who broke the story, as well as Rebecca O’Sullivan of the Florida Public Archaeology Network and Leroy Moore, senior vice president of the Tampa Housing Authority.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: How the Zion Cemetery has unfolded in the pages of the Tampa Bay Times

The Florida Conversations series, cosponsored by USF Libraries and WUSF public media, features authors and presenters covering a variety of Florida topics, including politics, fiction, history and the environment.

RSVPs are requested, at (813) 228-0097.

The Tampa Bay History Center is at 801 Old Water St., just east of Amalie Arena.

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