Unmarked Minn. state hospital graves get names

HASTINGS, Minn. (AP) — Advocates for the mentally ill are finding names for the patients buried in unmarked graves at former Minnesota state hospitals.

As many as 15,000 people may have been buried anonymously in state hospital cemeteries. Advocates say they’ve identified and supplied grave markers for about 7,000 people.

The Minnesota Legislature has spent more than $1 million in recent years to help the effort. Supporters say they’ll seek more money next session.

In Hastings, patients at the state hospital were buried in an unmarked cemetery beneath numbered concrete markers when no families claimed their bodies.

Disability rights activist Larry Lubbers helped find the Hastings cemetery. He and other activists recently gathered at the cemetery to commemorate the dead.

Lubbers tells Minnesota Public Radio (http://bit.ly/17Mo1vM) “We want names. … We don’t want numbers.”

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Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org

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