Honoring, Preserving, and Memorializing History
Sugar Land City Council approved an agreement with FBISD for the possible future relocation of bodies found buried on Fort Bend ISD's property to the city’s Old Imperial Farm Cemetery.
The disposition of the remains is the responsibility of the school district. Once the school district has determined a course of action, the city is ready to assist as needed and to support the efforts of the school district and community.
The remains were discovered on FBISD property; therefore, it is the responsibility of the school district to develop plans for the removal and reburial of the remains. A district judge rejected the recommendations of a local task force to relocate the remains to the city’s cemetery until further public input is garnered by the district. It remains the responsibility of the school district to find suitable alternatives/recommendations.
Should the court approve relocation to the city’s cemetery, the city of Sugar Land will provide the individual grave plots for each set of human remains discovered at the FBISD site, and the city will be solely responsible for providing ongoing perpetual care of any new gravesites in a manner that is consistent with the perpetual care currently provided to the existing Old Imperial Farm Cemetery. All other costs will be incurred by FBISD or through fundraising efforts coordinated by FBISD.
The city is proud to be one of the most diverse communities in the nation and this diversity is what makes Sugar Land such a great place to live, raise a family, work and play. This historic discovery is an important one for the community – for its ability to help us recognize and acknowledge the past in a way that honors families and our community values of today. Sugar Land is dedicated to working with others to ensure that these souls are memorialized in a manner that will make everyone in Sugar Land proud of how everyone expresses current-day values and respect for others.
Fort Bend ISD is leading an advisory committee that will make future recommendations on educational initiatives and memorialization.
The disposition of the remains is the responsibility of the school district, as is the composition of the advisory committee. While the City was not invited to participate in the advisory committee, we understand and appreciate the District’s need to establish its own independent process. Once the school district has determined a course of action, the City is ready to assist as needed and to support the efforts of the school district and community.
The City has no official role in determining next steps. However, we recognize the importance of this historic discovery and we are committed to working with the school district and collaborating with community leaders to assist in the process as requested and appropriate.
The city will consider future requests for additional property in the existing Old Imperial Prison Cemetery and adjacent City park as needed for memorialization and educational purposes. As soon as the school district and court arrive at a course of action, the City stands ready to assist as appropriate.
Sugar Land recognizes the importance of this historic find in the community and looks forward to working with the entire community to find proper ways and funds to honor and memorialize the historic remains.
For information on the advisory committee, contact Fort Bend ISD’s Chief Communications Officer Veronica Sopher at Veronica.Sopher@FortBendISD.com.
- Why did the City enter into an agreement with FBISD?
- Where is the Old Imperial Prison Farm Cemetery located?
- Who is buried there now? How many graves, and are they all leased prison labor too?
- Where will these individuals be placed in the cemetery?
- What kind of graves will be provided? Will there be coffins or markers?
- Who will pay for the new graves?
- Imperial Farm Cemetery
- Exhibit on the State of Texas Convict Leasing
- City of Sugar Land History
- Sugar Land Heritage Foundation
- Fort Bend County Historical Commission
- Penology for Profit: A History of the Texas Prison System, 1867 – 1912 by Donald R. Walker
- Slavery by Another Name by Douglas Blackmon
- Slavery By Another Name (PBS Documentary)
Have Additional Questions?
Fort Bend Independent School District
Chief Communications Officer
City of Sugar Land
Assistant City Manager