We are helping African American descendants find burial locations of family members whose cemeteries were erased from the Tampa area landscape, due to predatory land practices during the Jim Crow segregation era. This project involves USF students and incorporates historical research, archaeological fieldwork and geographic information system analysis.
who we are
The Florida Institute for Forensic Anthropology & Applied Sciences (IFAAS) provides research, education, fieldwork, lab assistance and a wide range of professional services related to violent crime investigations, cold case analysis, skeletal trauma, human identification and clandestine burial recovery.
We are dedicated to the principle of equal access to justice. The majority of our projects since 2008 have sought to resolve cold cases while highlighting the obstacles and challenges marginalized communities face in accessing the justice process. It often takes creative and innovative solutions to overcome the structural obstacles inhibiting the process. Historically, African American cemeteries have been lost, neglected or destroyed. This project will allow us to discover these sacred places and bring closure to the family members.
These burials contain stories about people, places and families that are often missing from the larger public narrative. Locating these cemeteries that have been built over because of urban development or that are at-risk of being destroyed, is critical for descendants who have a right to access the graves of their loved ones.
Researching how changing land practices and Jim Crow practices lead to the loss of these sites is important for understanding Florida history and how certain groups become marginalized. Researchers will connect and consult with communities where the burial grounds are located to see how they would like the sites to be utilized and remembered. We will use photos, videos, archives and oral histories to design an interactive digital map of the burial grounds.
This project will also allow our undergraduate and graduate students to gain experience and improve their field methods for excavations of clandestine burials.
what your gifts will do
Sites on private lands have not received funding. Your gift enables us to work on a range of non-government owned sites to help communities find lost burials. Gifts will fund USF students in assisting with the project by providing resources to carry out valuable research, find unmarked burials and work with descendants to re-establish who may be buried there.
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Choose a giving level
Will provide resources like gas and supplies for the team members to travel to different burial locations.
Will provide funding for more student hours to work on these important projects.
Will help purchase field supplies for various projects throughout the year.
Will help fund future symposiums to discuss findings and share research with the communities impacted by this cause.
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