Engineers search for lost African American graves in Clearwater

Engineers spent most of Thursday searching for lost African American gravesites on property owned by Pinellas County Schools and the City of Clearwater.

"This is a great interest," said Carlton Childs, who lives near the property being searched on Holt Avenue. "This is where many of my relatives were buried."

There is concern that many unmarked African American graves were not moved when the old North Greenwood Cemetery was relocated in the 1940s and 1950s. 

"We want to make sure that there are none, but in the event that there are some, we want to make sure that we give these people the proper respect and dignity that they deserve," Childs said. 

That’s why Pinellas Schools and the City of Clearwater are splitting the $35,000 price tag to run ground penetrative radar over these lots. 

Isabel Mascareñas, spokeswoman for Pinellas Schools, said if gravesites are located, the city and the school system will work with the neighborhood and the NAACP to figure out the best course of action.

"In a very sensitive and respectful way," Mascareñas added. "It’s really too early to determine. We are hoping to get the information first."

Crews will finish scanning the ground Friday afternoon and they hope to have the first set of results within ten days.