Friday, July 10, 2009

Cemetery Abomination

It is heartbreaking to mourn and bury a loved one. I know. I buried my husband 10 years ago. That is why I am so appalled and outraged by the actions of several individuals that defiled graves so that they could resell the plots over and over again. It is estimated that the crooks made as much as $300,000 in the last few years. According to the newspapers, three gravediggers and a cemetery manager unearthed hundreds of corpses, dumping some of them in a weeded area and double-stacking others in existing graves.
Burr Oak Cemetery of Alsip is the final resting place for many Chicago African-Americans, some famous. Emmett Till was buried there. His casket has been found neglected and rusted in a back storage room at the cemetery. This is wrong on so many levels.
In a week I will be heading to Jackson, Mississippi and Nashville, Tennessee. I hope to visit some of my ancestors' graves. The joy I will feel if I can find my great grandparents headstones will be so monumental. They died decades ago. That's why I am so angry that some people took that joy, that peace, the permanence away from so many families for money. If there are such things as spirits haunting those that disturb their final resting place, I hope they get to haunting those felons.


geneabloggers said...


Thanks for highlighting this story - here in Chicago it is the main focus of news, as it should be.

What galls me too is that one of the suspects also set up a Emmett Till "memorial fund" back in 2005 and she can't account for the donations made.

Mavis said...

I would have been upset to hear this story no matter what. But having recently received photos of my great-grandfather's tombstone, which is off it's base, and learning that the entire old cemetery in which he is buried is in disrepair. It, just galls me that someone would delibrately do this.