What a shameful disregard for an historic cemetery, perhaps the oldest in the county. It does not appear that the county has researched or documented the history of this cemetery before deciding to remove it to make way for development:
Update on Sumter County, FL Plan to Relocate African American Cemetery
The Sumter County Fl Administrator has proposed moving an historic African American cemetery in order to encourage development of a 75 acre tract by an unnamed industry. The initial research the county conducted led them to believe that this site was a family burial plot which had been abandoned.
Since the county announced its plans, documentary evidence and community testimony at council meetings has made it clear that this site is an historic African American cemetery which has served the community for decades.
Despite the new documentary evidence and testimonials of those who have loved ones buried there in unmarked graves, Sumter county continues to assert that this is a family plot.
There are 6 marked burials, 5 are African Americans (two WWI veterans) and 1 is white. There are 24 unmarked burials which have been detected by ground-penetrating radar.
The county has not opened a dialogue with the African American community concerning the relocation of this cemetery, even in the face of new evidence that this is not a family plot. The Sumter Times has covered the controversy in several articles and you can add comments. You may write to County Administrator Bradley Arnold at email@example.com to express concern as well.
Sumter County Times links:
On Sept. 29, six concerned citizens, including the VP of the Sumter Historical Society, came forward to protest the cemetery move. One was a community member who has two children buried there in unmarked graves.
Please consider writing a letter to the editor of the Sumter County Times at firstname.lastname@example.org concerning the county's decision.