Historians say it is no coincidence that each of the five lost cemeteries were mostly for Black

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[ Did officials know there was a Black cemetery on MacDill when it was built? ]
The latest is the Port Tampa Cemetery for Black residents, which ground-penetrating radar indicates to be just behind the MacDill Air Force Base fence along Manhattan Avenue.

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‘It hurts the same, again and again,’ NAACP Hillsborough County Branch President Yvette Lewis said.

Historians say it is no coincidence that each of the five lost cemeteries were mostly for Black people and disappeared during a racist era in area history.

But the reason for each disappearance is not black and white. Each has its own story. The stories of the first four cemeteries have been somewhat flushed out. Now, historians turn to the Port Tampa Cemetery.

‘Evidence points to a few possibilities,’ Rodney Kite-Powell of the Tampa Bay History Center said. ‘Hopefully, there is more evidence to be found that provides clarity.’

Publisher: www.msn.com
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Quite a lot has been going on:

Possible 20th-Century Black Cemetery Found Beneath Florida Military Base

The WPA report identifies the cemetery’s location in relation to local streets. When the archaeological team used GPR in the area referenced, they found what looked like possible burial sites.

‘While these anomalies were not clustered or arranged in patterns typically seen in historic cemeteries, their spacing is consistent with the use of an area as an expedient informal burial ground, where intermittent burials took place and where individual burials would not be in family groups or arranged in obvious rows,’ the researchers note in the new report.

The building of the base over the cemetery site took place in an era when racial discrimination was a powerful force in the military. As the Tampa Bay Times‘ Guzzo explained in a February article drawing on research by University of South Florida historian Gary Mormino, officials during World War II told incoming black soldiers at the base that they had to confine themselves to a ‘black district’ in a certain section of Tampa.

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Publisher: Smithsonian Magazine
Author: Livia Gershon
Twitter: @smithsonianmag
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Racial tension was high at MacDill in ’40s when a black cemetery disappeared

The federal government ordered MacDill commanders to comply. Morale on the base ‘plummeted,’ according to a research paper titled GI Joe Meets Jim Crow written by historian Gary Mormino and published in The Florida Historical Quarterly in 1994.

Port Tampa Cemetery would be the third forgotten burial ground to come to light in Tampa during the past year. One was a black cemetery and the other a pauper’s field where most of those buried were black.

But the story of Port Tampa Cemetery is just one of many that demonstrate how African Americans, during the age of segregation, were treated as second class citizens at MacDill and across the region.


Publisher: Tampa Bay Times
Date: 2020-02-15T14:00:48.747Z
Twitter: @TB_Times
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Looking for clues: Group researches details on possible lost Port Tampa cemetery at MacDill

TAMPA, Fla ‘ The search for a lost African American cemetery that could be on MacDill Air Force Base continues with the help of researchers from Georgia-based New South Associates.

“We’re looking for anything that may have said where a cemetery may have been, so anything on paper. So, we’re looking for the tangible, as well as the oral history, the emotional, the intangible, which all adds up to make the story,’ said Velma Fann, a historian with New South Associates.

‘”We can’t find too much written about it. Even in books that speak of cemeteries in Port Tampa, this one is not mentioned,’ Fann said.’


Publisher: wtsp.com
Date: 2/4/2020 11:32:41 PM
Twitter: @10TampaBay
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