Tennessee Cemetery Keeps Racism Alive Even After Death, Desecrates ‘N*gger’ Graves To Bury White Clients

Make no mistake, racism is still very much alive in America today and conservatives want African-Americans to be the victims of racism from cradle to grave… literally. Image by Amy Smotherman Burgess  @ Knox News

Make no mistake, racism is still very much alive in America today and conservatives want African-Americans to be the victims of racism from cradle to grave… literally. Image by Amy Smotherman Burgess @ Knox News

Republicans may have declared racism dead but it is still alive and well, even after death. Two former gravediggers are suing Baker’s Forge Memorial Cemetery in LaFollette, Tennessee for instructing them to desecrate “n*gger” graves in order to bury white clients.

When they refused to follow orders, Edward and Kenneth Taylor were fired by their employer in July 2012 according to Courthouse News Service. The lawsuit also names “Coolidge Baptist Church, Cedar Hill Baptist Church, Demory Baptist Church, and eight trustees and operators of the cemetery.”

According to the two Taylors, cemetery trustee Bob Housley allegedly ordered them to dig up the graves of African-Americans so that white clients could be buried in them instead. Courthouse News Service reports,

The permanent records of the cemetery contain two pages designated as the ‘colored section (Negro).’ [Defendant] Bob Housley would refer to the corpses buried in the ‘colored section (Negro)’ as ‘niggers.’ Bob Housley joked that all plaintiffs would find when he disinterred those graves was ‘black dirt.’ The Taylors claim that Housley’s plan to dig up the bodies in the “Negro” section of the cemetery was part of “an unlawful scheme and plan to resell to white persons the gravesites designated in the permanent records of the cemetery as the ‘colored section (Negro).’

This isn’t the first time the Baker’s Forge Cemetery has been in trouble with authorities. In 2012, the Knoxville News reported that the cemetery allegedly buried some clients on top of previously buried ones and allegedly forced at least one family to repurchase plots that had been purchased by family members decades before.

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If the allegations are true, it would appear that racism is still alive and well, despite Republican claims to the contrary. In fact, what Baker’s Forge Cemetery is allegedly doing sounds awfully like something out of the South during the Jim Crow era, when it was illegal to bury African-Americans in the same ground occupied by whites. As a result, ‘colored’ cemeteries, or separate sections of a cemetery, were reserved for black people. Now it seems that even those graves are under assault by racism.

This news comes at the same time that Tennessee conservative Christians are declaring that majority rule gives them the power to discriminate against and violate the rights of others.

The allegations in Tennessee are just another example of the deep racism that still plagues southern states to this day, nearly 50 years after the civil rights era and nearly 150 years after the Civil War. Many southern states are now implementing extreme voter suppression laws after the conservative-leaning Supreme Court stuck a dagger into the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Such laws have been designed to keep minorities from voting, as well as college students and women. Republicans like Rand Paul have even called for the repeal of the Civil Rights Act.

Then there are the ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws which have clearly been misused to allow racists to get away with killing blacks while simultaneously being rejected as a defense for African-Americans who make justified self-defense claims.

And that’s just the policies in conservative states. Let’s not forget the constant racist rhetoric that Republicans have been proudly spewing these last few years since President Obama first took office in 2008. The most recent episode of racist ranting came from the prejudiced lips of Texas Tea Party Congressman Louie Gohmert, who compared the civil rights of African-Americans to animal rights during a House Judiciary Committee hearing earlier this week. In addition, conservatives have been openly singing the praises of the Confederacy and white supremacy. Not only have Republicans been declaring Confederate history months in their states like Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell did in his, House Republicans held their convention to discuss minority outreach at a former slave plantation.

Racism is unacceptable and totally outrageous in today’s civilized world. It’s certainly not a desired quality in a politician who is supposed to legislate in the interest of all Americans no matter their race. But Republicans are racism deniers as much as they are climate change deniers. They want Americans to believe them when they say racism is dead so they can continue being racists and passing racist policies under our noses, all while claiming that such attitudes and policies are patriotic and strengthen America. Their beliefs are wrong, their ideas are wrong, and their attempt to fool Americans is also wrong, and conservatives should be punished for it. Make no mistake, racism is still very much alive in America today and conservatives want African-Americans to be the victims of racism from cradle to grave.