I'm the Florida reporter whose unearthing of Tampa's 1st all-black cemetery led to finding more lost burial sites
Hey, I'm Paul Guzzo, a reporter for the Tampa Bay Times. This summer, I discovered Zion Cemetery, Tampa's first all-black cemetery that was erased from city history. (Excited to be back for another AMA).
That report sparked official searches for Zion's 800 bodies. It also caused the city and community to discuss how to best honor the dead, including closing the housing complex built on top. Ancestors demanded answers. State legislators drafted bills. It has been an emotional time.
I quickly found Zion wasn't the only cemetery to meet that fate. Most have been the final resting places for African Americans.
My reporting led to radar finding a paupers cemetery under a Tampa high school. Records show there could be a cemetery lost within another Tampa cemetery, a cemetery hidden under an empty lot in Clearwater, a cemetery under MacDill Air Force Base. A history museum's staffers are among people looking into hunches.
In late October, historians predicted more would be found. They're right.
Ask me anything.
Edit: Hey, it's a little after 2 p.m. and I need to run now. Sorry to cut this short, but I have to run for work. Thanks for all the interest and great conversations! You can follow me on Twitter or keep up with my cemetery work here.