Unearthed cemetery may hold hundreds of black Miamians

MIAMI — The mystery surrounding a long-forgotten cemetery unearthed by construction crews two months ago has only deepened with a genealogist's discovery of records suggesting hundreds of black Miamians may have been buried there more than 75 years ago.

Historian Larry Wiggins, using a database of Florida death certificates compiled by the Mormon church, has found 523 names of people — many of them Bahamian settlers or of Bahamian parentage and many of them infants — who may have been buried in the cemetery on the edge of the old Lemon City settlement between the 1910s and the mid-1930s.

If he's right, though, where are they?

Archaeologists have so far recovered the scattered remains of about 20 people from dirt piles excavated for construction of an affordable-housing tower on Northwest 71st Street just east of Interstate 95. A radar survey of the ground suggests there may be more grave sites on the property, archaeologist Bob Carr said, but it's unclear whether there might be enough to account for everyone on Wiggins' list.

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