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October 26, 2020

Symposium to explore unknown burials in Oakwood Cemetery

Two days of panel discussions will explore the 2016 discovery of unknown individuals buried beneath the cemetery's chapel

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Oakwood Cemetery was established in 1839 as Austin’s city cemetery. And a chapel was built in 1914, placed in an area of the cemetery that had been designated as a racially segregated section since 1859.

On November 29, 2016, archaeologists monitoring the rehabilitation of the Oakwood Cemetery Chapel, discovered small bone fragments underneath the building.

All construction activity was immediately halted. Eventually some 38 burials were discovered underneath the chapel, all dating from the 19th century.

In May, the city released a comprehensive archaeological report, an analysis of the Oakwood Chapel grounds and items buried alongside the remains of the 38 unidentified individuals.

Now, a free two-day public symposium will brings more than three dozen nationally renowned archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, community activists and city staff for provides an opportunity for the public to learn more about what report revealed.



“All Together Here: A Community Symposium for Discovery and Remembrance” takes place Oct. 9 and 10. Registration is free.

Panel discussions will focus on the communities of African Americans and Mexican Americans who lived in Austin in the late 19th century. The event will also invite the community to provide ideas about how these individuals are honored and memorialized. Additionally, the public will learn how the community can become more involved in the exploration of the individual’s identities.

To register, see panel topics and featured speakers, see oakwoodsymposium.org


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