Crews to begin search for graves at forgotten Black cemetery in Clearwater

Archaeologists will begin "ground-truthing" the site of another forgotten Black cemetery in the Bay Area to determine whether any graves are still there.

Decades ago, the Saint Matthew’s Baptist Church Cemetery was located near South Missouri Avenue. Now, the site is the company headquarters of Frank Crum. Clearwater city officials said crews will conduct test excavations in two specific areas along South Missouri Avenue on Monday. 

Last year, archaeologists used radar to survey the area and identified around 70 potential graves at the site, three to five feet under the ground, arranged in east-west rows. The Frank Crum staffing company allowed the radar sweeps.

Another archaeological team from Cardno Construction announced 54 more graves were found at the former site of the Curtis Elementary School off of Holt Ave., the site of another covered-over cemetery.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: 124 graves from two Black cemeteries found in Clearwater

Both sites were paved over during Florida's segregation era.

Monday’s search comes weeks after nearly 30 grave shafts were found at the site of the former North  Greenwood Cemetery.

The Mount Zion cemetery in Tampa was one of the first to be rediscovered in 2019, followed by a school property and even a section of MacDill Air Force Base.