Monday, August 17, 2015

"Colored Cemetery" Developer Taken to Task

D.R. Horton is the developer who has been pushing to put townhomes on the Deerfield Beach property that contains an African American Burial Ground which was termed an “Old Colored Cemetery” in historical documents.

D.R. Horton has been in the background while the City has dealt with the owner's requests concerning the development.

D.R. Horton should also face public scrutiny over its role in the desecration of the African American human remains that are buried there because, under segregation, African Americans could not be buried in “white” cemeteries. 

The following letter was written to D.R. Horton urging them to face their responsibility and back away from this project, which would be good corporate public policy and recognize the public outrage for placing greed before empathy. 
 
This would go far in addressing past racial injustices and show sensitivity towards African Americans.

 

LAW OFFICES

BOUTWELL & CONNICK

A PARTNERSHIP OF PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS
POST OFFICE BOX 1186
411 EAST HILLSBORO BOULEVARD
DEERFIELD BEACH, FLORIDA 33441

ROBERT E. BOUTWELL, P.A.                                                                                                  TELEPHONE: 954-428-0300
A. THOMAS CONNICK, P.A.                                                                                                                   FAX: 954-428-6506

August 13, 2015

PAUL ROMANOWSKI, VPRP
D.R. HORTON, INC.
12602 Telecom Drive
Tampa, FL 33637


BILL WHEAT, EVP, CFO
D.R. HORTON, INC.
301 COMMERCE STREET, SUITE 500
FORT WORTH, TX 76102

DONALD R.HORTON, DC

D.R. HORTON, INC.
301 COMMERCE STREET, SUITE 500
FORT WORTH, TX 76102


THOMAS B. MONTANO, VPAS

D.R. HORTON, INC.
301 COMMERCE STREET, SUITE 500
FORT WORTH, TX 76102


KATHLEEN SHIPPEY, AVP
D.R. HORTON, INC.
4220 Race Track Road
Saint Johns, FL 32259


ASHLEY DAGLEY, AVPAS

D.R. HORTON, INC.
301 COMMERCE STREET
SUITE 500
FORT WORTH, TX 76102


DAVID D. AULD, President, CEO

D.R. HORTON, INC.
301 COMMERCE STREET
SUITE 500
FORT WORTH, TX 76102


MACHAEL J. MURRAY, EVP, COO
D.R. HORTON, INC.
301 COMMERCE STREET
SUITE 500
FORT WORTH, TX 76102


RAFAEL J. Roca, VPDP

D.R. HORTON, INC.
431 Fairway Drive
Suite 350
Deerfield Beach, FL 33441


            Re:      SE 2 Avenue and SE 5 Court, Deerfield Beach, Florida

Dear Corporate Leadership of D.R. Horton, Inc.:

 This letter concerns the African American burial ground located at the above referenced location.
 
At this point in time, D.R. Horton, Inc., knows that this location was a burial ground for African Americans.  D.R. Horton, Inc., knows that there are remains of African Americans that are at this site.   D.R. Horton, Inc., knows the legacy of second-class citizenship of African Americans, which mandated that because of segregation, African Americans could not be buried at regular cemeteries, and had to be buried at places such as this location.

The Bible says:  “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” (Bible, James 4:17, New Living Translation)

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.”

There are a number of people in the African American community and in the Deerfield Beach community that are deeply upset that this burial ground is going be ignored so that D.R. Horton can build housing on this property.  The African Americans whose remains are at the site lived their lives as second-class citizens; they were buried there as second-class citizens; some of their remains and markers were previously removed as second-class citizens; and, those whose remains are now there should not have their remains removed as a final insult to their second-class citizenship. 

 It is totally inadequate to move the remains to another location.  That is a superficial pretend solution that ignores the truth.  That is a gross insult to the remains of these dead African Americans; it is a gross insult to current African Americans and to sensitive people in the Deerfield Beach community and the broader American community.   This issue must be made personal: you would not want that to happen to your deceased loved ones, and if it were done, it would show an insensitivity to both them and to you.  In this situation, because of the historical second-class citizenship of African Americans, not leaving their remains at that location is an insult to them, to their relatives, to the African American community and to the broad American community. 

 There every reason for this location not to become a housing development, and for those African Americans’ remains not to be further disturbed: out of respect for them, as a way of remembering and honoring those whose lives and resting place were as second-class citizens, out of historical respect for them and those similarly situated in institutionalized racism, and out of respect for the African American community, the Deerfield Beach community and the American community.

The owner of this property bought this property with “eyes wide open,” knowing it was an African American burial ground.  But, despite much oral information and record information, the human remains of these African Americans were not found during the 1980s.  That situation has changed, and there is substantial evidence of the human remains of these African Americans.  D.R. Horton, Inc., now knows these facts.

D.R. Horton, Inc., as an organization, and each individual in a leadership position of D.R. Horton, Inc., has to ask himself and herself: Is D.R. Horton, Inc., a company with a social conscience, or is it just an amoral corporate shark that relentlessly moves forward and devours everything in its path?

I request a meeting with VPDP Rafael J. Roca at your Deerfield Beach office.  There will be others in attendance with me at this meeting.  D.R. Horton, Inc., is presented with the opportunity to do the right thing.

In the arena of public opinion, D.R. Horton, Inc., will either be respected or condemned for its decision concerning this property.

Thank you.

 Sincerely,

A. Thomas Connick

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