Slave Cemetery Discovered at Kingsley Plantation | News

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Slave Cemetery Discovered at Kingsley Plantation
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- After nearly 175 years hidden in unmarked graves, the remains of six African slaves have been discovered at Kingsley Plantation on Fort George Island.

"This discovery is nothing short of momentous," said Barbara Goodman, Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve superintendent.

MORE: Florida Lawmakers Pass Resolution Apologizing for Slavery

"The fact that we can now definitively say that we have found this remarkable heritage site is very significant."

The site was found near the ruins of the slave quarters, just off the main road that leads to the plantation house.

James Davidson worked with the University of Florida archaeological field school at Kingsley Plantation during the summer of 2010 when the original discovery was made.

"We didn't stumble over this by accident like so many of these discoveries," Davidson said. "We had reason to believe this was here for a long time."

The plantation got its name from Zephaniah Kingsley, a slave trader who owned the land in the 1800s. Kingsley married one of his slaves, and freed her and her three children.

A direct descendant of Kingsley, Dr. Johnnetta Cole was there for the presentation Thursday.

MORE: Kingsley Plantation House Opens

"My ancestral roots are so deeply planted in this place," she said.

"You can't know where you're going if you don't know where you've been," she said. "This discovery of an African burial ground, a burial ground of enslaved people, helps us to understand where all of us have been and now where and how we can go forward."

On Saturday, park rangers and the park archaeologist will lead guided tours of the grounds of Kingsley Plantations and the cemetery. 

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