145 Graves Discovered On Grounds Of Florida High School
By Bill Galluccio
November 22, 2019
A historic cemetery from the mid-20th century was discovered on the campus of a high school in Tampa, Florida. Officials became aware that King High School was the potential site for the cemetery when they were contacted by researcher Ray Reed in October. The school hired a team of geophysical technicians, who discovered 145 gravesites using ground-penetrating radar.
Officials believe the graves were part of the Ridgewood Cemetery, and the shallow, unmarked graves belonged to poor African Americans who died during the 1940s and 1950s. Officials said that at least 77 of the graves belonged to young children and infants.
They believe there could be more people buried there, but cautioned that locating all the graves could be tough. Some of the coffins have deteriorated over the past 75 years, making them undetectable by radar. They also think that some of the remains may have been moved when the land was sold to a private developer in 1957.
The school purchased the property two years later and had documentation that the cemetery was on their grounds. Over time, people forgot about the graves and built on top of the land. The school said it plans to demolish the agricultural lab that covers part of the cemetery, hoping to unearth more of the graves that may be buried beneath the building.