Gov. Ron DeSantis approved a bill that seeks to uncover abandoned Black cemeteries throughout the state of Florida.
What You Need To Know
- Bill was initially sponsored by state Sen. Janet Cruz and state Rep. Fentrice Driskell
- Previous research found that 40-50% of Florida cemeteries are neglected and Black cemeteries are among the worse
- DeSantis to launch task force to discover and preserve those locations
The bill was signed last week; initially it was sponsored by state Sen. Janet Cruz and state Rep. Fentrice Driskell.
As I started to learn about the history of these abandoned cemeteries I thought — something needs to be done about this,” said Driskell, Florida House 63 representative. “This is not an issue that’s specific to Tampa Bay. This is something that occurred throughout the entire state.
DeSantis will launch a task force, funded by The Department of State, to discover and preserve these locations.
Previous research found that 40-50% of Florida cemeteries are neglected and Black cemeteries are among the worst. Decades ago, cemeteries were segregated and much like Black neighborhoods they were not well maintained.
“Florida has a past that was segregated and we know that segregation did not always mean equal treatment,” said Driskell. “People would say separate but equal. No, it was separate and unequal.”
The task force will consist of 10 people who will help locate the burial grounds and identify who's buried there. The first meeting is scheduled for August.