Dr. Ralph Didlake, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, at UMMC captivated our Madison Lions Club members on October 8, 2019. His subject was the reclaiming of UMMC property where approximately 7,000 bodies are buried from the former Mississippi Sanitarium between the years of 1855 and 1935.
He stressed that the removal of these bodies will be done with honor and care for their relocation and memorial. UMMC has asked Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and the University of Southern Mississippi to help with the preliminary testing of the graves to determine the condition and total numbers of graves there.
In the near future, an select team of experts in their field will begin the next step of removing those bodies in a dignified way, create a memorial honoring them. If it is determined by the select team that any bodies are Native Americans, their remains will be transferred to the Choctaw Nation in Philadelphia, MS, for burial purposes.
If it is determined any remains are former northern soldiers during the Civil War, they will be transferred to the Vicksburg Civil War site.
If remains are former confederate soldiers, they will be transferred to the Greenwood Cemetery in Jackson, MS.
Once all bodies have been carefully removed and honored, UMMC will be able to develop this last piece of their remaining property.