Last week a Louisiana cemetery refused to bury a Black sheriff’s deputy because of its “white-only” sale restriction. Reminder, it’s 2021.
Karla Semien, the wife of the late Darrell Semien, was told by Oaklin Springs Cemetery in Allen Parish that she couldn’t bury her husband there because of the 1950s sales contract that included language about “The Right of Burial of the Remains of White Human Beings.”
“I met with the lady out there and she said she could NOT sell me a plot because the cemetery is a WHITES ONLY cemetery,” Semien wrote on Facebook. “She even had paperwork on a clipboard showing me that only white human beings can be buried there. She stood in front of me and all my kids wow what a slap in the face.”
According to HuffPost, almost a quarter of Allen Parish residents are Black.
Following news reports of the horrific incident, the board of the cemetery held an emergency session on Thursday to remove the racist provision.
“I’m still very ashamed of what happened,” board president H. Creig Vizena told KATC-3. “Who wouldn’t be?”
Vizena said he apologized to Semien’s family and offered to give them one of his own plots. The family rejected his offer. He also fired his 81-year-old aunt who was the saleswoman that spoke with the family.
“My dad wasn’t any man, he was a phenomenal man,” Shayla said. “He was a police officer in this same community for 15 years. He protected the same people that denied him a place to lay eternally because of the color of his skin.”