MASS GRAVES FOR 1928
- FLORIDA -
This mass grave for victims of a massive hurricane remained hidden until 1991.
When a hurricane struck the Florida coast in September 1928, it caused a dike on Lake Okeechobee to fail which resulted in an extensive loss of human life.
Of the victims in Palm Beach County, most of the White victims were buried in a mass grave in the prestigious Woodlawn Cemetery. However, segregation laws at the time prevented the burial of Black residents in that cemetery. More than 600 people of color were interred in a mass grave at the Paupers Graveyard at the corner of Tamarind Avenue and 25th Street.
While the mass grave at Woodlawn was marked with a memorial, the Tamarind Avenue site was largely forgotten until 1991, when a Nigerian religious service was held at the location. The site had passed through various owners over the years and was used as a garbage dump, slaughterhouse, and sewage treatment works.
The City of West Palm Beach purchased the land in 2000, and in 2003, a state historical marker was put in place by the city for the 75th anniversary of the storm.