Updated: Sep 20, 2020
On Monday, November 19, 2018 a dramatic scene played out in the 434th Fort Bend County Court in Richmond, Texas. At issue was the motion to remove the remains of the #Sugarland95 from the site at which they were unearthed.
National Black United Front (NBUF) representatives Swatara Olushola and Kofi Taharka, along with other community representatives, stepped to the bench at the invitation of Judge Shoemake.
Articulate and forceful, the group argued against the removal of the remains due to the lack of robust descendant community engagement including DNA testing by the Fort Bend Independent School District (FBISD). Lawyers for FBISD were flanked on all sides by African/Black community representatives shooting down their ill-conceived pleas to the Judge. Ultimately, the Judge temporarily halted the petition to remove the remains until further effort was put in to engage all interested parties. He appointed a “Special Master” for the court to work with the parties present.