There was no hesitation for Daniel Abou-Jaoude when a Florida college district turned to his business for assist immediately after mastering 1 of its educational institutions was constructed on a neglected cemetery in Tampa, Florida, employed for Black and indigent families.
Hillsborough County Public Universities officers reached out to Skanska United states of america, its longtime design contractor, after identifying in 2019 the existence of Ridgewood Cemetery, a a person-acre burial floor at the southern conclusion of the King Substantial Faculty campus that opened in 1960 in Tampa, Abou-Jaoude, a Skanska vice president, stated in a assertion.
The district hired a workforce of geophysical experts that identified clear evidence of unmarked graves of 145 adult men, ladies and little ones who have been buried at the web-site from 1931 to 1954. A whole of extra than 250 persons have been buried more than 21 yrs at the site now specified as a state historic website by Florida’s Division of Historical Sources and Bureau of Historic Preservation.
The rediscovery of Ridgewood and numerous other overlooked cemeteries in greater Tampa have generated nationwide headlines amid calls for reparations by Black leaders angered by the erasing of the segregation-period cemeteries.
Skanska, based mostly in New York City, donated time and products to construct a marker intended to symbolize a dove’s wings — the image of the soul’s launch from its entire body — and a 21-foot by 21-foot reflection pond surrounded by a walkway to honor those buried.
“After Skanska was designed mindful of the historical significance existing at King Superior College and the strong ties to the community’s roots, we realized this was a task we had to consider on,” Abou-Jaoude explained. “Skanska is honored to guide the effort and hard work in donating this impressive memorial that now honors the numerous life buried at Ridgewood Cemetery.”