Disrespect to our ancestors continues in Tampa.
On Friday, the Hillsborough County School District announced a pauper’s cemetery might be located on the grounds of King High School. During the press conference, the district promises to be open and transparent with the community.
The Tampa Bay Times pulls the receipts and believes people may have been buried where King High School gymnasium now stands.
Based on city records from 1942-1954, around 250 people were buried at Ridgewood Cemetry. In 1957, the city of Tampa sold the land to a private company including Ridgewood Cemetry. This private company sold the land to the school district in 1959. The city of Tampa told reporters that when they sold the land, “they put them on notice the cemetery was there and to keep it there.”
This news comes after at least 127 coffins were discovered by archaeologists at Zion Cemetery. Zion Cemetery is now under a portion of the Robles Park Villiage.
Jeff Moates, the regional director for the Florida Public Archaeology Network said the radar can run over the parking lot. This equipment might not detect graves under the school building.
We have no idea where Ridgewood Cemetary is located but we do know it was either ignored or forgotten. This is the second uncovered incident in Tampa where African Americans were buried and properties were built on top of them. Segregation existed in life and death. This is disrespectful!
We need to address the continued disrespect of our ancestors and the gentrification in this city. The investigation is still ongoing to find the location of Ridgewood Cemetery.
Bianca Goolsby, MBA is a digital strategist and activist who partners with mission-driven organizations to increase their impact through innovative and effective online communications. She also empowers and equips families to curate safe social spaces for themselves and their children.