Historically, it’s not unheard of to dig up graves, move bones to a different site, and re-use those graves. It only becomes problematic when cemetery staff take it upon themselves to re-use cemetery plots already bought, paid for, and occupied, and dump the occupants in a pile of weeds out back. That’s what employees of a historic black cemetery in Chicago did.
Three gravediggers and a manager at the Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip are accused of unearthing hundreds of corpses and either dumping some in a weeded, desolate area near the cemetery or double-stacking others in graves. The cemetery is the burial place of civil rights-era lynching victim Emmett Till and blues singers Willie Dixon and Dinah Washington.
While Till’s grave site was not disturbed, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said investigators found his original iconic glass-topped casket rusting in a shack at the cemetery.
It’s a shameful scam even if famous people hadn’t been buried there.