U.S. Agency Admits Role In N-Word Markers On Old Graves In Cemetery

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EL DORADO HILLS, Calif. — An effort to bury the N-word at a California graveyard is gaining momentum.

For more than a half-century, 36 grave markers in an El Dorado Hills cemetery 30 miles east of Sacramento have been marked with the provocative racial epithet.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released documents Tuesday acknowledging it was responsible for using a racially inflammatory version of the name Negro Hill when that town’s cemetery was moved to El Dorado Hills to make way for Folsom Lake in 1954.

The graves are for people who had been buried in the community of Negro Hill, which dates back to the Gold Rush. But the bodies were moved in 1954 and someone in an official capacity ordered grave markers using the slur.

Negro Hill Burial Ground Project leader Michael Harris tells the Sacramento Bee that he’s been trying for a decade to get the offensive word removed from the cemetery.

A county spokesman says a proposal to do so is expected to go to county supervisors in the coming weeks.

“We don’t know why, when in so many other instances the cemetery was called Negro Hill, the new gravestones and our records use the more offensive word,” wrote Corps Lt. Col. Andrew B. Kiger, in an apologetic memo accompanying the released documents.

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