For decades, the stretch of grassy land in an elbow of the Mississippi River held no trace of the people buried underneath. No signs, markers or tombstones pointed to the more than 300 African-American former slaves buried in two cemeteries about 20 miles west of New Orleans.
Only a handful of people knew they ever existed, despite their being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Now, the Army Corps of Engineers, which owns the land, and local historians are reaching out to descendants of the deceased and planning a memorial at the grave sites commemorating the lives and deaths of those buried.
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