A shocking situation has unfolded in Jacksonville, Mississippi, where 215 bodies were discovered buried in unmarked graves behind the Hinds County state jail.
According to sources, the gravesites were first found in December 2023. They were located in a pauper’s cemetery—a burial site for unknown, unclaimed or indigent people. Despite being buried behind the state jail, it currently has not been reported whether any of the deceased were imprisoned there.
The individual graves were reportedly marked with just a metal rod and number. Moreover, the families of the deceased were not notified about their passing and many still believed that their loved ones were missing.
Upon the discovery of the graves, African American civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump emphasised the inhumanity of their treatment and called for an investigation into the causes of death. The lawyer noted that it is currently unclear if the deaths were caused by “racism, prejudice, or bigotry.”
“People all across America are scratching their heads in disbelief about what’s happening in Jackson, Mississippi, with this pauper’s graveyard,” Crump told a congregation at the Stronger Hope Baptist Church in Jackson last month.
Further, Reverend Hosea Hines, senior Pastor of the Christ Tabernacle Church and the national leader of A New Day Coalition for Equity and Black America told Complex: “It really saddens my heart to know that their relatives went that long, some over a year, not knowing if their loved ones were dead or alive and then coming to the realisation that they had been buried in a pauper’s grave behind a jailhouse.”
One of the people found on the gravesite was Dexter Wade. He was hit and killed by a police vehicle. In Wade’s case, various civil rights were violated. These included failing to notify his family and burying him without their permission despite knowing his identity. Marrio Moore and Jonathan Hankins experienced a similar faith.
Many of the families affected are now demanding justice and transparency.