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Paul Guzzo

“Zion Cemetery isn’t lost – Zion Cemetery was erased.”

That was the message from one University of South Florida archaeologist at a recent presentation at the Tampa Bay History Center about Zion Cemetery, which is believed to be the first African American cemetery in Tampa.

Paul Guzzo in Tampa's Memorial Cemetery
James Borchuck/Tampa Bay Times

Last fall, a cemetery historian came upon a few death certificates from a little-known Tampa burial ground called Zion and he wanted help to learn more about it.

Tampa Bay Times journalist Paul Guzzo took the story on, and after nine months of research, he discovered that no one really knows what happened to hundreds of bodies that were buried in Tampa's first African American cemetery.