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Cemetery Workers in TN Fired for Refusal to Disinter Black Bodies for Profit!

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posted on Jul, 26 2013 @ 02:48 PM
Folks... I struggled a bit as to whether I should even share this one. It's infuriating and it's sickening all at once. For the purposes of T&C, I cannot share everything in words from this court filing. Racial Slurs, especially now and at this moment, are not where I'm going ..even relating out of an official document. So you'll need to read the story for a couple details. Here, I will share the rest though.

The main reason I DID choose to share this are the threads and notes recently from people honestly asking what sort of problem racism actually stands as in America in the 21st century. I strongly stand by the statement that Institutional racism is almost a dead issue in our nation. Individual Racism? Oh.... Good God people.. read this and you'll see how low it can still reach.

JACKSBORO, Tenn. (CN) - A Tennessee cemetery fired two gravediggers for refusing to disinter black corpses so the cemetery could sell the plots and fill them with white bodies, the men claim in court.

The intro should be enough to make most people sit straight up and say What the Hell?! I know it did for me. I wasn't quite ready to see it was precisely what it sounded like.

The Taylors claim they were instructed to disinter bodies - which is a felony in Tennessee - but refused, and were fired for it.

"For example, plaintiffs were directed to desecrate and disinter the grave of Jennie Irwin Baker, Grave no. 240-145, in order to bury Alvis Buck Cantrell next to his wife, who had previously been buried in Grave No. 240-144 on top of Geo. W. Baker, according to the permanent records of the cemetery," the complaint states.

"In addition, the permanent records of the cemetery contain two pages designated as the 'colored section (Negro).'
Source: Courthouse News

The plan, according to the filing, was a real simple one. Clear the old graves in the "Negro" section, as records have it listed, then resell the empty plots to white people for the full modern price of a burial location. These aren't cheap by any means. An article in USA Today which ran in 2010 places the average at $3,500 per plot in the U.S..

So, sadly, it must be reported that (allegedly, in this case) for all the progress this nation has made in the face of politicians and other challenges working the other direction at times? The issue of deep, dark and almost evil levels of racism among individual people still carries as something of a personal value among some.

They are asking for $250,000 in damages for the lawsuit. It's another case I wish I could share from a criminal and not civil court perspective, but it is what it is and at least it's not swept aside or covered up.

How about everyone else?

posted on Jul, 26 2013 @ 03:11 PM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

I think the families that were about to have their loved ones REMOVED from the cemetary for profits needs to sue this dumbass cemetary also, if the case is won, that is....

Not to mention new ownership, prior owners aren't available for contact because they are in a prison at the moment...

Sorry just looking ahead a bit....Innocent until proven guilty, sorry.....But this stuff gets my blood boiling!!

posted on Jul, 26 2013 @ 03:22 PM
reply to post by Chrisfishenstein

Yes, innocent until proven guilty. I put in the allegedly for the latter part of my OP at the last moment, realizing just how explosive such allegations can be in the current times. The courtroom will determine what actually happened of course.

Having said that, yeah, it boils me too. In reading the description, I'm thinking the area may well be an older area where family members aren't likely to be back again or aren't known at all. It couldn't easily be done like this if there was any real chance that a family member would drop by to place flowers ..and find a whole new name and person where once they'd known their relative to be.

We have some around here like that which date into the mid 1800's or so. I always get an odd feeling around those for the direct connection they represent to a whole different time and era. The idea of disturbing all that for money? It's just so repulsive I don't know where to start for a reaction.

posted on Jul, 26 2013 @ 03:40 PM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000


probably has been going on a looooong time in many places *

Black people need to wise up and supplement their funerals by having a Voudon priest[ess]
put a Curse on the grave to prevent desecration.

*how many times have we heard tales of the downside of building on top of Indian burialgrounds?

edit on 26-7-2013 by TheMagus because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 26 2013 @ 03:44 PM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

Not to sure what really can be said. I think the situation and actions involved are so blatantly reprehensible that no comment is really needed, beyond those that would infringe on T/C.

Generational gap perhaps. I am not sure who sets policy at that place, but they really need to realize this is the 21st century.
edit on 26-7-2013 by MDDoxs because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 26 2013 @ 03:59 PM
A local woman cried her granny was moved so she sued because the cemetery refused to dig it up and prove they didn't move her. The court ordered them to split the cost of digging up the grave and the medical examiner. she was wrong just as the cemetery said then the cemetery refused to rebury till it was paid because they hadn't been paid for the first time.

posted on Jul, 26 2013 @ 05:03 PM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

This is just terrible. In addition to the obvious alleged racism (which is outrageous, but not to surprising for that area), that cemetery has it's troubles.

The cemetery was originally created for the graves of those that had to be moved from other sites when TVA created Norris dam. TVA's plan was to leave plots available for future family members to be buried along side their loved ones. Not exactly how it played out. The cemetery has run all over the families and sold off plots they had no rights to.

Cemetery sees controversy - story from February this year on one of the plaintiffs.

Questions come from family about cemetery - Allegations of plots sold without deeds.

One thing is very clear, that cemetery needs new management. Hopefully people that are honest & not out to turn a quick buck!

posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 02:58 AM
I use to work at a crematorium/cemetery in Oz.

You don't buy a burial plot, you only lease it for a term of up 99 years.

''Once the lease runs out, if the family or descendants don't re-buy it, cemeteries can do what is called a lift and deepen. They can dig the grave again, remove the bones and place them in an ossuary or the bottom of the grave and they can re-sell the grave to a new family,''

Sorry this next source isn't the greatest.

In most of the rest of the world, a perpetual right to a burial plot is rare. Iserson writes:

Most European graves have long been considered temporary. In medieval Europe, for example, the poor were buried in vast common graves, the fosses aux pauvres. When one pit was full, it was covered with earth and an old pit reopened. The bones from the latter were taken to the charnel house and it was reused for new bodies. Even the wealthy, originally buried under flagstones inside the church, were eventually disinterred and sent to the charnel house. . . . Although the practice of reusing graves was banned elsewhere in Europe during the eighteenth century, it continued in Britanny, Naples and Rome. Through the nineteenth century in Breton, France, gravediggers continued to remove the bones from graves after five years.

edit on 27-7-2013 by acrux because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 10:39 AM
Well that's surprising. I didn't know you could only "lease" a plot up to 99 years.
Is there any more information as to how old the previous graves were that the men were asked to reuse?
Because then that could cause some controversy as to why they were fired.

posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 06:56 AM

Originally posted by katyehh
Well that's surprising. I didn't know you could only "lease" a plot up to 99 years.
Is there any more information as to how old the previous graves were that the men were asked to reuse?
Because then that could cause some controversy as to why they were fired.

That's the thing. This didn't start out as an normal cemetery.

In the 1930s the USA government created TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) to help create low cost energy. That meant building building dams & flooding previously inhabited areas. Many of those areas had community, church & family cemeteries which where moved. The cemetery at the center of the lawsuit is a re-internment cemetery, meaning it started out as a place bodies where moved to before the flooding. And when they moved the bodies TVA gave burial rights to the families (I think 10 plots each). Those burial rights are passed down through the family. If a person can prove they have a family member that was re-internment there by TVA and there is room, they have a right to be buried there.

So, to answer your question, most of the graves that were originally moved there are now older than 100 years. The TVA re-internment data base lists 1,725 people moved to Baker's Forge. Of those, 355 are unidentified & about a 1,000 died before or during 1913.

I checked some of the names mentioned in Wabbit's OP.

Baker Jennie Irwin
Birth Date:1843
Death Date: 1893

Baker George W.
Birth Date: 1858
Death Date: 1899

Honestly though, death dates & skin color does not matter. There is nothing in Tennessee law or local law that gives anyone the right to move/remove bodies after death. Only family/government can make that determination and there are laws governing it. And really, what the "trustee" asked the plaintiffs to do is against the law. What is happening there now is nothing more than a way for someone to line their pockets with money, history & decency be damned.

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