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African American Cemeteries Forum

Burr Oak Cemetary

My cousin sent me a text early at 6:30 one morning last week wanting to know if I had seen WGN News on my cable channel. I knew this wasn't going to be good news.
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Apparently, 4 employees of historic Burr Oak Cemetery had been exhuming the bodies of the dead and re-selling the plots. This has gone on over the past 4 years. They think that there are over 300 bodies that were exhumed. In addition, it is thought that people are buried on top of people.
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I don't know for sure which of my family members are interred at Burr Oak but I know that my immediate family members are not far away in another Alsip, IL cemetery called Restvale. I have made it a point when visiting Chicago to tend to my dear mother's marker and the marker of my grandmother with floral arrangements. There are several other family members without markers including my Great Grandmother, Aunt, & Uncle.
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Last year, I ordered the death certificate of my Great Great Grandmother and discovered that she was buried at Restvale in 1943. I got her plot location from the front office but after walking the grounds and getting the assistance of a grounds keeper, I couldn't even locate the section, let alone the lot or grave number. The grounds keeper suggested that I come back another day when "one of the old timers were there..."
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During this trip I also learned the locations of my Great Great Grandfather who is buried in another cemetery called Mt. Glenwood that is not far from Restvale and Burr Oaks. Same story: I got his grave location and a map from the front desk but I was unable to locate the grave. I flagged down the grounds keepers and offered them $20 each to help me locate the graves. We looked for over an hour and could not find the section, let alone the grave. I was greeted with the same reply: "come back on another day when the older ones are here and they can help you find it..."
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To be a groundskeeper, one should have to know the lay of the cemetery. Unless the plots have been resold long ago which is what I suspect. I am seriously considering contacting an attorney on Monday.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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