RED BANKS, Miss. — Modern technology is being used in northern Mississippi to help chronicle some long-forgotten painful but important parts of history.
In the process of trying to get some drainage and roadwork done at Red Banks Cemetery, crews stumbled upon the remains of slaves buried in unmarked graves.
It's truly an incredible discovery.
We got a call from a friend in Holly springs who noticed new bright-colored flags in the nearby cemetery.
FOX13 reached out to the Red Banks Cemetery Association. That group is trying to make sure they do everything they can to be respectful of the dead.
Ralph Farrell said the Red Banks Cemetery Association spent $900 to have the cemetery mapped out with ground radar.
The cemetery dates back to 1848.
In an unmarked area where they have always had been told slave were buried, they expected to find a few graves - but not this.
An orange flag now dots the head of every grave. There are 119 total graves.
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“I guess I was expecting maybe probably ten or 15… maybe 20 at the most. But as he was going, he kept finding another and another and another. Honestly, I just stopped and prayed,” Farrell said.
Farrell told FOX13 wants to know who is buried here. He is looking for relatives or anyone who can tell him.
Right now, they have no idea who the graves belong to.
“I prayed for these people, not know who they are and my quest is getting or finding the names, so we can honor these people.”
One of the things that is going to change at Red Banks Cemetery is they are going to move the entrance because in the current entrance way there are actually graves under the roadway.
So they are going to move out of respect.
“With this area right here, I just took it to heart that it gets done and these people and their loved ones are honored.”
The Red Banks Cemetery Association told FOX13 they believe slaves are buried in that space because that is what locals have always said about it.
They are considering calling in the state department of archives and history to help. They are also considering erecting a monument to those that are buried there.