Fort Bend ISD will pay the county $1 million to help with costs associated with reinterning and memorializing the remains of 95 African Americans that were discovered last year during construction of the district’s James Reese Career and Technical Center, FBISD said in a July 11 news release.
As part of the agreement between the school district and Fort Bend County Commissioner’s Court, which both have approved the terms, FBISD also will convey an area of the cemetery and provide an additional 10 acres for a memorial park. House Bill 4179, signed into law last month by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, gave Fort Bend County the legal authority to own and operate a cemetery.
The “Sugar Land 95,” as they have been called, are believed to have been part of the state’s convict labor leasing program in the late 1800s.
FBISD also said the Texas Historical Commission, with guidance from the Texas Attorney General, extracted genetic material from the remains that will be used for DNA analysis and curated at the Texas Archaeological Research Laboratory at the University of Texas.