- Faith & Family
The Lemon City Cemetery Community Corporation [LCCCC] and the African American Committee of Dade Heritage Trust is making final preparations for a special re-internment service of human bones that were discovered at an abandoned cemetery by construction workers in 2009. Now, after a community effort led in part by Dr. Enid C. Pinkney, board of directors chairperson, LCCCC, the bones will be given their final resting place on Friday, Nov. 16 at a 10 a.m. service at the Lemon City Cemetery [485 NW 71st Street]. An historical marker will be unveiled and speeches will be given on behalf of those who had long been forgotten — primarily Bahamians that made up some of Miami’s earliest pioneers.
“In 2009, when the bones were first discovered, the City of Miami didn’t even know it had been a cemetery,” Pinkney said. “They didn’t have a record of it. Later we found out that it had been a cemetery from 1854 until the 1930s.”
Later research revealed that Pinkney’s own grandfather, John Clark, had been buried there. In fact, by the time long-forgotten records were reviewed, it was determine that 523 people had been buried at the cemetery.
“Archaeologists were interested in the artifacts [that were unearthed] like rings, etc., for museums but they said no to the bones,” she added. “We wanted the bones in the ground out of respect to the dead. They were people who came to Miami with a machete and cleaned up the land. They worked hard to make Miami what it is today. In 1854 this was nothing but land filled with palmetto bushes. What happened to them was an injustice but with this internment they will finally have their time of peace.”
During the internment service, Rhoda Jackson, consul general Bahamas consulate will be one of several featured speakers, along with Miami-Dade County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson and Adriana Nelson of Biscayne Housing Group. The Rev. Errol Harvey will conduct the committal service. The City of Miami has donated an historical marker; other sponsors include Physician Access Urgent Care Group and the Historic Hampton House. For information call 305-638-5800. The service is free and open to the public.
By D. Kevin McNeir