Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cemetery scandal

A more pleasant post about cemeteries will follow tonight or tomorrow, but first I want to focus on the cemetery scandal near Chicago which is causing such anguish. Four people have been arrested and are in protective custody for the desecration of more than 300 graves at historic Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois.
Carolyn Towns, the manager of Burr Oak, was the ringleader of the scheme and is now under psychiatric evaluation. She targeted graves that were old and sometimes unmarked, removing the contents and reselling the plots, splitting the proceeds of $300,000 with 3 accomplices. The 3 workers broke up caskets, vaults, and grave markers. They dumped skeletal remains in a mass grave in the weedy northwest corner of the 150-acre cemetery - or in some cases "pounded them into the ground" so that the new occupants could be double-stacked on top of them.
The conspirators have received death threats from distraught families. It was at first believed that first lady Michelle Obama's father Fraser Robinson III (1935-1991) had been buried at Burr Oak, but the White House confirms that he is interred at nearby Lincoln Cemetery. One family that has been affected is that of Emmett Till (1941-1955), an African-American boy whose murder in Mississippi motivated the Civil Rights Movement. After the 14-year-old had allegedly winked at a white woman, he was beaten, shot through the head, and dumped in a river. No one was held accountable and his mother insisted on an open casket at his public funeral to show the world the brutality of the crime. When the investigation was officially reopened in 2004, Till's body was exhumed, autopsied, and reburied in a new casket. The original casket (above) has been found in a shack on the grounds of Burr Oak. While she did not disturb Till's grave, Towns has been accused of looting a fund for an Emmett Till memorial.
A team of 30-40 forensic anthropologists has been brought in to identify the mingled remains, which were dumped over a period of at least 4 years. The cemetery, owned by Perpetua, Inc., has been placed in receivership and day-to-day operations have been turned over to the Archdiocese of Chicago's Catholic Cemeteries.

1 comment:

  1. This was not right! Any thing that had 2 do with Black people being different!! They are normal HUMAN'S nd we treated them lyk they did something wrong 2 us when all they did was have a different skin color its not there fault they were born lyk that!!! that's the way god wanted them!!! those men had no right 2 kill him he was only 14 years old and plus they didnt even get put in jail 4 doing it?? that was the wrong part!! by the way this is about EMMETT TILL


You may add your comments here.