Artist Carlos Delgado revitalizes the African Cemetery Memorial at Higgs Beach that he helped paint about 20 years ago following the discovery of graves belonging to hundreds of Africans who were brought to Key West when the slave ship that captured them was intercepted by the U.S. Navy in 1860. JOHN ALLEN/Monroe County Parks and Beaches

Carlos Delgado and his wife Diana from Dega Art Surfaces, the original artists of the African Cemetery Memorial at Higgs Beach in Key West, are doing touch-up painting work of the ground mural this and next week. The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

In 1860, three illegal slave ships were intercepted by the U.S. Navy and diverted to Key West. The Key West community was so appalled at the treatment of the human cargo that they worked collectively to provide food and shelter for the almost 1,500 Africans who would have been sold into slavery. Despite the efforts, hundreds died and were buried at Higgs Beach.​
In the summer of 2002, archaeologists and volunteers conducted a ground-penetrating radar survey around Higgs Beach, finding shallow graves near the sidewalk. During additional surveys in 2010, at least 100 more graves were located.​The historical and archaeological details from the interception can be found on exhibit at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum at 200 Greene Street in Key West. Additional information on the burial site can be found at To take a 3-D tour of the site, visit