What Happened to All the Bodies Buried in the All-Black Cemetery?

Site of the “old colored cemetery” of Deerfield Beach City, Fla., today 
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As the Deerfield Beach City Commission in Florida debated whether to allow a black cemetery to become a town house development during a special meeting Tuesday night, a few residents had a different question: Where are the bodies?

The Sun Sentinel reports that family members of those buried at the cemetery are raising questions after several studies determined that there are no longer any bodies at the cemetery, which may date as far back as the 19th century. No one knows how or where the bodies were moved.


"I saw it with my own eyes, I am a living eyewitness," Benjamin Miller, who had family and friends buried there, said. The 83-year-old, who was born and raised in the community but now lives elsewhere, said that if the bodies were moved, "they didn't notify me, and they didn't notify my mother and they didn't notify my daddy. They were living, they were next of kin. Where did they put the bodies?"

According to the Sentinel, some estimates believe that up to 400 bodies were buried at the now-vacant cemetery. This is also not the first attempt to build over the burial grounds: A 1974 pitch was thwarted by angry residents.

Deerfield Beach City Mayor Jean Robb said that she believes the bodies were moved to Pineview Cemetery, which is owned by the city, but wasn't able to confirm that suspicion.

One thing is certain: Two different studies—although they disagree slightly on when the burials were conducted—confirm that there are no longer any bodies at the site. Experts could find no evidence of skeletons.


Read more at the Sun Sentinel.

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