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In search of lost cemeteries

A number of cemeteries forgotten through the years across the Tampa Bay area came to light during 2019, most of them final resting places for African-Americans. The new attention to old burial grounds springs from a Tampa Bay Times report in June that revealed the first and largest of them – Zion Cemetery in Tampa.

Archaeologists Kelsey Kreiser, Rebecca O'Sullivan, Eric Prendergast and Jeff Moates survey an area of Robles Park Village where they believe graves from Zion Cemetery may be located in Tampa, Monday, June 22, 2020.
Archaeologists start the process of ground truthing on segregation-era cemetery land.
Jun. 22, 2020• History
To catch you up on what’s happened, here are answers to questions about all the burial grounds that have come to light in 2019.
Dec. 31, 2019• Hillsborough
Four lost black cemeteries have been found in the last year. There could be more. What does this say about the Tampa Bay area’s history?
Jun. 5, 2020• News
Archaeologists discovered at least 70 graves that were left behind when a Clearwater cemetery was moved in the 1950s.
Jun. 3, 2020• News
  1. Archaeologists with Cardno, Rebecca O’Sullivan, left, and Eric Prendergast, work to sift through sand while working to confirm ground-penetrating radar results which indicated 70 graves from where Clearwater's black St. Matthew Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery were located at the FrankCrum staffing firm property at Missouri Avenue and Pierce Street in Clearwater.
  2. Archaeologists with Cardno, Rebecca O’Sullivan, left, and Eric Prendergast, work to sift through sand on Wednesday, March 10, 2021, while working to confirm ground-penetrating radar results which have indicated 70 “possible graves” from where Clearwater's black St. Matthew Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery was located at the FrankCrum staffing firm property at Missouri Avenue and Pierce Street in Clearwater. The excavation comes after more than a year of research by archaeologists with Cardno, the University of South Florida, the NAACP, and the local community.
  3. MacDill Air Force Base on Tuesday dedicated a historic marker denoting the spot where the erased Port Tampa Cemetery was located.
  4. A proposed rendering of a walkable memorial honoring those buried in the mid-20th century Ridgewood Cemetery for the indigent and unknown.
  5. Erin McKendry, 40, a staff archeologist with Cardno, left, speaks with a Tampa Bay Times reporter as Ryan Harke, 35, an archeologist with Florida Public Archeology Network, right, during the excation of what was once an unnamed Black cemetery. This grave is among those with a casket and a marker.
  6. Bucs punter Bradley Pinion has been cleared to begin practicing with the team on Friday.
  7. The red indicates what archaeologists believe were the boundaries of the North Greenwood Cemetery. The cemetery was moved in 1954 but it appears at least 54 unmarked graves were left behind.
  8. The main entrance to MacDill Air Force Base.
  9. The red square indicates where possible graves from the Port Tampa Cemetery for Blacks were discovered on MacDill Air Force Base.
  10. Social studies teacher Shannon Peck-Bartle meanders through a section of the Rose Cemetery, 124 N. Jasmine Ave. in Tarpon Springs. Peck-Bartle has made Rose Hill Cemetery part of the county curriculum and believes there is a lot to be learned about local history through such cemeteries.
  11. An overlay map showing where Ridgewood Cemetery is located on the King High School campus. The red outline indicates the boundary of the cemetery and the pink boxes the graves.
  12. The top left corner is a conceptual design of what the Zion Cemetery memorial park could look like.
  13. The FrankCrum headquarters in Clearwater at 100 South Missouri Ave. has human remains from a Black cemetery on its property. The NAACP now wants to know if there are also bodies under Missouri Avenue.
  14. A map of the Zion Cemetery graves that ground-penetrating radar discovered.
  15. This is a map of Zion Cemetery that was filed with the Hillsborough County Clerk in 1901.
  16. A map of the Zion Cemetery graves that ground penetrating radar discovered.
  17. Muhammad Abdur-Rahim points out the former location of the St. Matthew Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery that was located on property now home to the FrankCrum company at 100 S. Missouri Ave.
  18. Cardno Archaeologist KC Allen uses a trowel as she explores a grave shaft at Zion Cemetery in Tampa.
  19. Lou Claudio, an avocational archeologist from Safety Harbor, stands in the center of parking lot 1 at Tropicana Field where Oaklawn Cemetery was once located on the corner of 16th Street and Fifth Avenue South in St. Petersburg.
  20. Cardno archaeologist KC Allen uses a trowel to explore a grave shaft at Zion Cemetery in Tampa. Archaeologists later confirmed the existence of a coffin.
  21. Cardno archaeologist Chase Searles skims an area around a grave during ground truthing at Zion Cemetery Wednesday, June 24, 2020 in Tampa.
  22. Archaeologists Kelsey Kreiser, Rebecca O'Sullivan, Eric Prendergast and Jeff Moates survey an area of Robles Park Village where they believe graves from Zion Cemetery may be located in Tampa, Monday, June 22, 2020.
  23. Archaeologists Kelsey Kreiser, Rebecca O'Sullivan, Eric Prendergast and Jeff Moates survey an area of Robles Park Village where they believe graves from Zion Cemetery may be located in Tampa, Monday, June 22, 2020.
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