Louisiana cemetery changes contract after Black deputy denied burial

The Semien family.

A small Louisiana cemetery has changed its sales contracts after a Black sheriff’s deputy was denied burial because of a provision that only allowed white people to be buried there.

The board of Oaklin Springs Cemetery held an emergency meeting Thursday to change the provision which had been in the sales contracts since the cemetery was founded in the late 1950s, according to board president H. Creig Vizena. He said the board removed the word “white” from a line in the a contract that previously said “for the burial of the remains of white human beings.”

Vizena said he first learned of the provision on Tuesday when a friend urged him to make things right after the family of Allen Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Darrell Semien was told he couldn’t be buried in the cemetery near Oberlin because he was Black.

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