Black man denied plot in “whites-only” cemetery in Louisiana

Darrell Semien’s dying wish was to be buried close to the sheriff’s office, and his home in Oberlin, Louisiana.

However, after Semien, 55, passed away from bladder cancer on Sunday, his widow, Karla, was told the cemetery she was interested in laying his remains were unavailable – because the deceased was black.

Karla, who is white, said she, and her seven children with her husband, went to look at the Oaklin Springs Baptist Cemetery on Tuesday but was informed by the overseer the graveyard was only for white people.

Outraged, she told The Washington Post, “He was good enough to protect you, being a police officer of all these years, but he wasn’t good enough to be laid to rest in your cemetery?”

The cemetery’s board president, H. Creig Vizena, said he was ashamed to learn Semien was denied a plot due to his race, claiming he was unaware the cemetery’s contracts stipulate plots can are only for “the remains of white human beings.”

Vizena visited Semien on Tuesday to apologise, and said the overseer, who is in her 80s, has been “relieved of her duties.”