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Cadaver dogs will search MacDill AFB for lost graves from black cemetery

The cemetery existed as early as 1902, years before the base was built.

TAMPA, Fla. — MacDill Air Force Base confirmed on Thursday that a team of archaeologists and cadaver dogs will search a wooded area on February 18 for possible lost graves from an African American cemetery.

It existed in Port Tampa when it was a separate city.

1st Lt. Brandon Hanner said the base is working with Georgia-based New South Associates on the search. A representative confirmed Wednesday that workers are in town doing historical and community research on the Port Tampa City cemetery.

10News previously reported this cemetery existed as early as 1902. Dozen of death certificates and newspaper articles from the site confirm its existence.

MacDill Air Force Base officially opened in 1941. 

NOTE: A previous version of this story stated the search will take place on February 17. An update from MacDill Air Force Base said the search will take place on Feb 18 instead. 

RELATED: MacDill releases plan to search for lost African American cemetery on base

You can watch more of Emerald Morrow's reporting on Tampa Bay's forgotten African American cemeteries here:

RELATED: MacDill Commander on lost black cemetery: ‘We’re going to get this right’

RELATED: Forgotten African American graves could be buried at MacDill Air Force Base

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