Jane Castor apologizes for past Mayors’ roles in erasing Black cemeteries

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor Friday publicly acknowledged and apologized for past administrations’ role in erasing Black cemeteries from the city’s history.

The last two years have seen a deluge of reports on rediscovered Black cemeteries across the state that led to the creation of the Task Force on Abandoned African American Cemeteries and newly filed legislation to address the issue. Lost and forgotten cemeteries became a focus after Tampa Bay Times reporter Paul Guzzo helped uncover the purposely forgotten Zion Cemetery under an East Tampa housing complex.

“We can’t right past wrongs,” Castor said. “But certainly, we can acknowledge those and apologize for the wrongs of our community in the past.”

 Castor issued the apology from Memorial Park Cemetery. Memorial Park was founded over 100 years ago to serve as the final resting place of Black veterans who fought in World War I. City Council Member Luis Viera said no matter who was at fault, it is incumbent on the current community to make things right.

He said the veterans buried in Memorial Park represent some of the best America had to offer at the time.

“During the height of Jim Crow, the height of racial terror here in the south,

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