Residents, Super Bowl champion, hit back at plans to sell part of historic Pompano Beach Black Cemetery – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports
(WSVN) – The potential sale of part of a historic South Florida cemetery angers some residents and takes action, and they have an unlikely ally. Karen Hensel has the 7 inquiries tonight.
Number 23 Tyrone Carter is a two-time world champion – winning two Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But Tyrone has earned his grain of sand as a star player at Blanche Ely High School.
Now retired, he leads his fight from the soccer field to the empty field of this cemetery in his hometown of Pompano Beach.
Tyrone Carter, Former NFL Player: “I would never let anyone sell this place. See that whole section back there? My great-grandfather bought all of this, so his whole family is buried there. My mom is right there.
Westview Community Cemetery is also the final resting place of a famous actress.
Esther Rolle played the role of Florida Evans on the hit 1970s TV show “Good Times”.
A show that made history as one of the first TV sitcoms about an African American family.
Tyrone Carter: “She was a real role model. You have to understand this.
Westview opened in 1952, when blacks were not allowed to be buried alongside whites.
Now, the nonprofit that runs the cemetery is in negotiations to sell those 4.5 empty acres alongside the existing cemeteries.
The buyer, a developer, asks the city to rezone the land for industrial use.
Those opposing the sale expressed outrage at a recent zoning council meeting.
Ed Phillips, Former City Commissioner: “Once that land is gone, it’s gone. That’s it.”
Dr. Ayanna Miller, Resident: “How can I be confident that you won’t pave my family? “
Karen Hensel: “Residents claim that this land was donated to the community almost seven decades ago – and the Westview Community Cemetery nonprofit board is just supposed to manage it. “
Tyrone Carter: “It was given. If it was donated… why are you trying to sell it? Why are you trying to sell it? “
The crumbling cemetery has shattered tombstones, sinking burial vaults and anonymous graves.
Families turned to 7 surveys in 2018 when some even struggled to find loved ones.
Family member Princess Daniels: “You can’t lay flowers because you don’t know where your loved ones are, it’s sad. It hurts.
Heidi Davis, lawyer for promoter KZ Copans, declined our request for an interview but told the city the sale could be a solution to decades of disrepair.
Heidi Davis: “The proceeds from the sale of the property will help the cemetery make much-needed improvements. “
But residents fear the sale will leave less room for future burials and have turned to their own lawyers.
Johnny McCray, Jr., Lawyer: “The fight is to preserve history. We need to examine the intention of what we believe the donor gave to the community. I think it violates that intention.
Khambrel Davis, Lawyer: “It’s almost like taking a little black history away from Pompano Beach.
They plan to file an injunction asking a judge to stop the sale.
Khambrel Davis: “Basically you’re just trying to take ownership of black people. You know, you might think they would walk away from it and not want to continue, but here we are. “
Meanwhile, the state sent a letter warning the developer that “historic cemeteries may contain graves outside fenced or marked boundaries” and recommended that the land be surveyed for unmarked graves.
Tyrone Carter: “I am fighting for the Pompano community, whose ancestors, our family members are in this cemetery.”
We tried several times to speak with the lawyer representing the cemetery board of directors, but received no response.
The next stop for these serious concerns could be a courtroom.
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