The Florida Department of State confirmed Monday (March 7) for the first time that the human remains found last year under a community building in Pensacola was likely once a historic African American graveyard, WEAR-TV reports.
The station previously reported that in June 2021 local Boy Scouts discovered bones in a crawl space under the building in the East Hill neighborhood of the city. They were conducting an Eagle Scout cleanup project. The Medical Examiner’s Office determined that the remains were human bones.
Since then, there has been speculation about whether the site was an African American cemetery. City officials told the state that they believe the location was once a burial ground, and now the state officials agree.
With the state and city in accord, Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson said local officials will potentially consider including a historic marker at the site.
Meanwhile, a Florida Department of State spokesperson said the exact location of the cemetery remains unclear. Researchers at the University of West Florida are continuing their investigation of the site.
"UWF completed the analysis, is now writing the report and will be sending it to appropriate parties. Therefore, at this time we are not able to speak on this situation,” a university statement said.
“Analyses take time and UWF is carefully working with the remains to be respectful and ethical in the analysis. The remains are not forensically significant, rather they are historic. At least six months is normal for conducting analyses on a historic case. Once the report is provided to the State they will decide on next steps."