SUGAR LAND, Texas (KTRK) -- Well-known historian and activist Reginald Moore was laid to rest Monday morning in a private funeral.
The community remembered the activist, who exposed a darker side of Sugar Land's past.
Moore died July 3 of heart failure, according to his wife, Marilyn. He was 60.
Marilyn asked for donations to the Convict Leasing and Labor Project on PayPal in lieu of flowers.
Moore is credited with raising awareness about the Texas convict leasing system in Sugar Land, which forced African-American prisoners to be sent to plantation owners for labor even after slavery ended.
When the bodies of 95 African-Americans were discovered, Moore was at the front of the efforts to give them proper burials.
"Mr. Moore is the reason why hundreds of thousands of people now know about the Sugar Land 95, and why future students in Fort Bend ISD will learn about this important part of our local history," Fort Bend ISD superintendent Charles DePre said in a statement. "He was a powerful voice for the voiceless and his advocacy will continue to impact lives for generations to come."
Sugar Land was once home to tens of thousands of acres of prison farm land and countless convicts worked in the system. Moore's research even led to historic recognition for the Old Imperial Farm Cemetery.
"His presence had made people more aware of the fact out in Sugar Land there's cemeteries in a lot of different places," said Professor Ken Brown, a University of Houston anthropologist, in 2018.
Moore attended Yates High School in Houston and attended the then-University of Southwestern Louisiana before going to work as a longshoreman and later as a prison guard for the Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice, according to an extensive 2018 story in Texas Monthly.
Moore's interest in the history of the area's past was piqued when he worked at TDCJ's Jester Unit in Richmond, he told the magazine.
"It reminded me of a plantation, the way the guards treated the inmates," Moore said. "You could see and feel the oppression. Even before I learned the history, I felt it."
"It's been an ongoing fight for a couple years since those bodies were found and now the fight is trying to make sure that they're dignified and buried in a proper way with the judges order and community input," Moore told ABC13 in 2019.
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Moore's research collection is housed at Rice University.