Sugar Land city council votes toward solution for unearthed graves

“We learn from our history, we can’t change history but we need to honor and we need to learn from it,” says Steve Griffith, the first assistant city manager for Sugar Land.

Since February, many people in Sugar Land have been puzzled by what to do with 95 grave sites that were discovered at a Fort Bend Independent School District construction site. The bodies are believed to be mostly those of African Americans between the ages of 14 and 70 and all but one are males.

“We just know from what the archeologists tell us, that they were prisoners that were part of the Texas prison system," says Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman. "They were working and that’s actually the property of the main unit. They were working the main unit and probably the central unit.” 

At the Sugar Land city council meeting on Tuesday night, a memorandum was unanimously passed so that the city will work with FBISD historian Reginald Moore and several other historical groups to decide quickly what to do with the bodies and to determine when they will be moved to the Old Imperial Prison Farm Cemetery.

“This is a highly-emotional issue for a lot of folks," adds Griffith. "We understand that the more people we can get to the table, the more people we can get involved in this, I’d say the better the chances are we are going to do the right thing and we are going to have a really first class memorial and a really first class learning event.”

Going forward, Griffith is discussing the idea of building a memorial park and city council members discussed the option of having a museum exhibit as well.