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Wed Jun 26, 2019, 11:10 PM

Few folks know about this historic mass grave of HIV-positive people near New York City

Hart Island is a small islet located a mile east of the Bronx. It’s one mile long and a third of a mile wide (roughly 213 acres), and during the mid ’80s and ’90s, New York City buried thousands of people who’d died of HIV on the island out of fear the bodies might infect others.

The island and its dark history were recently explored in season two of Ryan Murphy’s groundbreaking FX drama series Pose. Two HIV-positive queer characters travel to the island in 1990 to visit the grave of their dead friend.

True to history, the friend’s grave is marked only by a number. Crates, each with a dead body (some weeks or months old) were stacked atop one another deep in the soil. Men in hazmat suits, some of them Rikers Island prisoners forced to become gravediggers, walk around the island rubble as bulldozers covered the graves in earth.

Although the city only buried 17 HIV-positive people there during 1985, they continued to do so well into the ’90s. The number of HIV-positive people buried there is estimated to be in the thousands, but city officials are reluctant to provide exact numbers because of longstanding criticisms of the island’s crude handling of deaths at the time.

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Reply Few folks know about this historic mass grave of HIV-positive people near New York City (Original post)
Behind the Aegis Jun 2019 OP
TreasonousBastard Jun 2019 #1

Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Thu Jun 27, 2019, 01:44 AM

1. This is all true, but not exactly as it may seem...

Hart Island is NYC's Potters Field. Thousands of people are buried there because they were unidentified, no money for private burial, abandoned by family, or other reason. Graves are unmarked, except for one https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/63661652/special-child the first known child to die of AIDS.

The total number of bodies is around a million, but no one knows for sure, due to sloppy records, and a 1997 fire that destroyed a lot of those.

While it is unsettling that these people were so disposed of, it's not like they were dumped into mass graves. They were dealt with as people with a mysterious communicable disease were often dealt with.


https://opacity.us/site155_hart_island.htm

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