Members from the African American Burial Grounds & Remembering Project met to tour the parking lots of the Tropicana field – the Oaklawn cemetery complex site last year. Photo courtesy of David Shedden
ST. PETERSBURG – On Tuesday, July 20, Cardno, the company contracted to do ground-penetrating radar work at the Tropicana Field site to determine if any graves were present, provided a draft report to City of St. Petersburg staff.
Three possible graves have been identified in the report. Also noted in the study area were “areas of interest,” which may contain more graves. These findings were presented to Mayor Rick Kriseman this week.
Identified graves are located in the Tropicana Field Parking Lots 1&2, at the southern boundary adjacent to Fifth Avenue South and the freeway, I-275. The three possible graves were part of the Oaklawn Cemetery, which was founded as a cemetery serving white citizens. The three possible graves were part of the Oaklawn Cemetery, which was founded as a cemetery serving white citizens.
The other areas of interest extend to adjacent cemeteries to the south, including what was the Evergreen Cemetery, established as an African-American cemetery, and the Moffett Cemetery, which served as the final resting place for citizens of all races.
Mayor Kriseman said, “While the number of potential graves discovered is small, it is not insignificant. Every person has value, and no one should be forgotten. This process is of the utmost importance, and we will continue to do right by these souls and all who loved them as we move forward.”
Cardno will provide a proposal and cost for the next steps, including creating a work plan to investigate their findings further. The city will engage in consultation with the community, including descendants, stakeholders, and community groups.