Sugar Land 95 Exhibit
FBISD Reese Technical Center
In early 2018, construction at the site of Fort Bend ISD’s new James Reese Career and Technical Center, a high school, unearthed a forgotten piece of Sugar Land’s past: a historic cemetery where 95 individuals were buried. Following an extensive exhumation process and further analysis, archeologists determined that the individuals buried at the property are convicts who were leased by the State to provide convict labor to a local plantation, following the national abolition of slavery.
This compact exhibit, located in a lobby overlooking the cemetery, presents a complex story in a succinct manner to accommodate ten-minute tours of 15-20 people while school is going-on in the surrounding spaces. The visual presentation emphasizes the process of uncovering - uncovering the cemetery and also uncovering history. The jagged forms of structure and color in the palette of the diaspora express disorder and a tension in culture of that time. Another layer of presentation along the reading rails discusses the archeology and science of the exhumation and re-interment. Amid the troubling history and fascinating science, these individuals, once lost to time, are commemorated. Visitors are invited to step forward to press one of several case buttons to illuminate tiny personal effects of the departed delicately held in a bright white light of discovery. Adjacent windows feature translucent art work of 94 birds and one butterfly taking flight from the sugar cane as an expression of transcendence.
Opened February 2022