The St. Matthews Baptist Church Cemetery was established in 1902 and operated through the 1940s.
CLEARWATER, Fla. — Archaeologists on Wednesday confirmed they found an additional 258 graves from a destroyed African American cemetery underneath a Clearwater business property and extending out to the adjacent paved road.
This brings the total number of discovered graves from the St. Matthews Baptist Church Cemetery to 328.
Senior archaeologist with Cardno Erin McKendry presented the findings during the Clearwater African American Cemeteries Memorial Committee meeting, hosted by the Clearwater/Upper Pinellas Branch of the NAACP.
The St. Matthews Baptist Church Cemetery was established in 1902 and operated through the 1940s. The land was eventually sold and redeveloped.
RELATED: FrankCrum, NAACP collaborate on solution for erased Black cemetery on property
FrankCrum president, Matt Crum, previously told 10 Tampa Bay his family was unaware of any graves on the property. Upon first learning of the possibility of graves on his family’s property, he said he wanted to do what was necessary to learn the truth and right the wrongs of the past.
“To me it’s the next logical step, to find out, you know, what the perimeter of the old cemetery was, how many possible remains we’re talking about. And then we can start having a conversation with all stakeholders to say, ‘okay well what do we do now,’” Matt Crum told 10 Tampa Bay in May 2021.
This is a developing story. More information will be provided as it becomes available.
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