Who were the

Sugar Land 95?

The first bone was found in February 2018, by a backhoe operator clawing through the dirt on land owned by the Fort Bend Independent School District. By the summer, the remains of 94 men and one woman, all African-American victims of convict leasing, had been recovered on the future site of a career and technical education center. Ranging in age from 14 to 70, the inmates had muscular builds but were malnourished, their bones misshapen from back-breaking, repetitive labor. They were buried in plain pine boxes sometime between 1878 and 1911.


CLLP has been at the forefront of the fight to preserve the Sugar Land 95's burial ground and ensure they are properly memorialized.


The Sugar Land 95 are the 95 African-American individuals unearthed during a construction in Sugar Land, Texas, 30 miles southwest of Houston. Archaeologists found evidence that the 95 individuals belonged to the state of Texas' convict leasing system and were buried in the unmarked gravesite.


August 2018

The City of Sugar Land established a task force to ensure that the remains of the Sugar Land 95 would be reinterred with dignity and their lives honored.



Fort Bend Independent School District owns the site. Fort Bend County wished to acquire the site to operate it as a cemetery, and a Texas state law was even amended to permit large counties to own and run cemeteries, but the district backed out of the arrangement. Since then it has refused to cooperate with the county, court-appointed oversight of the reinterment (which it successfully appealed), and the community task force it had once helped convene. The district continues to make unilateral decisions about the remains.

There is no historical marker at the site, or any indication of what happened there. Join our movement to tell the full history. Contact us to learn how you can get involved!

The Convict Leasing and Labor Project is a 501-(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to expose the history of the convict leasing system and its connection to modern prison slavery while restoring the dignity of all victims of forced labor and their descendants.

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