When a Louisiana Sheriff’s Deputy was diagnosed with cancer in December, he discussed in detail with his family what he wanted his burial plans to be, including which cemetery to bury him in. When he passed away, his wife went to the cemetery to purchase a plot and was denied.
According to CNN, it turns out that the Oaklin Springs Cemetery in Oberlin was for whites-only.
Deputy Darrell Semien picked the Oaklin Springs Cemetery to be closer to his home. His widow, Karla Semien, was shocked to find out that there was a clause in the by-laws that stated only “the remains of white human beings” could be buried there.
“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 in a Facebook post. “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.”
Creig Vizena, the cemetery board president, told KATC that he was ashamed of how the Semien family was treated, and the woman who denied them the burial plot has since been let go.
Vizena said that he had not been aware of the discriminatory language in the by-laws, which he said dated back to the 50s. He admitted to not reading through the by-laws, despite being president for a few years. Before this, no other incidents have come up.
On Thursday, the cemetery board members called an emergency meeting to remove the clause from the contract.
Vizena apologized to the family and offered them one of his own burial plots in the cemetery. By then, the damage had been done. The family declined.
“I even offered them, I can’t sell you one, but I can give you one of mine,” Vizena told KPLC. “That’s how strongly I feel about fixing it.”