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Brittney Martin and Naomi Reed

June 16, 2023

Who’s Buried Here?

(Episode 1) The Fort Bend Independent School District is set to start building a new school in the sweet city of Sugar Land, Texas. After years of planning, contractors finally break ground on the site. But the very next day, someone shows up with a warning: Be on the lookout for bodies. Archival audio in […]


May 24, 2023

Trailer: Sugar Land

Sugar Land, Texas, is a city with a sweet reputation … but it’s hiding a dark secret. The suspected remains of 95 convict laborers were discovered during the construction of a new school. Who are they and why are they there?



This is not another true crime podcast—it just starts out like one.

In 2018, construction crews building a new school in Sugar Land, Texas uncovered human remains. In the months that followed, more and more graves were unearthed, eventually totaling 95. Though officials quickly determined this was a historic cemetery—not a serial killer’s dumping ground—the discovery still threatened to sour the city’s sweet image.

Sugar Land was home to the largest convict labor camps in the state, where hundreds of Black men were sent to harvest sugarcane in the decades following the Civil War. State and local officials were warned there were Black bodies buried unceremoniously across the county, but they didn’t look for them then, and they’re not looking now.

Sugar Land is a production of The Texas Newsroom, a public radio journalism collaboration that includes NPR, KERA in North Texas, Houston Public Media, KUT in Austin, Texas Public Radio in San Antonio and other stations across the state.

Brittney Martin

Co-Host, Executive Producer

Brittney is an independent journalist based in Houston. She’s an experienced investigative reporter, researcher and longform narrative writer. She was a member of The Dallas Morning News staff named 2017 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Breaking News Reporting, and she frequently contributes to The Washington Post, Texas Monthly, The Daily Beast and others.

Naomi Reed, Ph. D.

Co-Host, Senior Producer

An anthropology professor at Southwestern University, Naomi’s research focuses on race, education, cultural heritage and criminal justice, and she has spent the last decade conducting ethnographic fieldwork in Sugar Land. She was raised in Missouri City and grew up in the shadows of Sugar Land’s wealth and reputation as the “sweeter” place to live in Southwest Houston.

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