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Slave skeleton on display in museum buried in Connecticut

Sept. 13, 2013 at 8:20 AM

WATERBURY, Conn., Sept. 13 (UPI) -- The skeleton of an 18th century slave, Fortune, which was used to teach anatomy at a museum in Connecticut, was buried, 215 years after he died, officials said.

Hundreds of mourners attended the memorial service Thursday at St. John's Episcopal Church on the Green in Waterbury, Conn., The Hartford (Conn.) Courant reported.

The burial was the culmination of a project begun in 1996 to discover the history of the skeleton, which was on display at the Mattatuck Museum. Fortune was enslaved by a Waterbury doctor, who, after the slave's death in 1798, used the bones to teach anatomy, the newspaper said.

"Even after death, he did not get the respect he should have as a man ... as a human being," said Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman. "This state is welcoming him now. ... Mr. Fortune, you are somebody [who] will not be forgotten."

Prior to the funeral service, Fortune's casket laid in state for five hours at the Capitol, an honor normally reserved for ex-governors and other prominent officials, the Courant reported.

Fortune's bones were buried at Riverside Cemetery, near where many of the 18th century's aristocracy was interred, the newspaper said.

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