Archaeologists working alongside contractors reconstructing the historic chapel at Austin’s Oakwood Cemetery made a grim discovery in late November: Human remains buried under the building.
City officials said in a news conference Tuesday that they believe there may be around 25 graves underneath the chapel, which was built in 1914 on what was the non-white portion of the segregated cemetery.
“My heart stopped when I heard that, in 1914, a chapel was built on top of graves,” said Council Member Ora Houston, who represents the East Austin area around the cemetery. “Because I’m sure, at that point, people knew there were graves in that part of the cemetery. The lack of humanity hit me.”