The Accused

So let me get this right.  Because this is some deep crazy and I need to be clear before I start my attack.  Four cemetery workers in Chicago, all African-American, dug up nearly 300 graves, dumped the remains and resold the plots?  And this isn't any old cemetery either? This is Burr Oak, the resting place of Emmett Till, Dinah Washington, my Cincinnati homeboy Ezzard Charles, among others?  And not only did these derelicts resell the plots, one of them, some crazy loon named Carolyn Towns of Yates Street in Chicago, was pocketing donations for an Emmett Till Museum?  That's low.  That's just not low, that's obscene.  That's worthy of a public stoning.  Emmett Till, body or museum, you just don't desecrate.  And the dead… the dead are supposed to be left alone.

On the other hand…

It is certainly horrifying news for the families of the deceased, and there's something unspeakable about tampering with the dead.  But… these four shameless mofos obviously thought, well, the dead are dead and what's the big deal.  Some people believe once the body loses it's heartbeat and given a proper burial, well, the body is just deteriorating flesh and bone.  Some people believe cemeteries are a waste of real estate and cremation is a far more eco-friendly alternative to burial.  Some people, like the four cemetery workers, obviously believe money is money and what better way to create revenue than hustling the dead.


My heart goes out to the families that were bamboozled.  My stomach turns at the idea of someone digging up graves in order to make money.  I mean, that hurts.  However, the Devil's Advocate in me wants me to remind people [and myself] everyone doesn't value the dead.  In fact, some people are in the world to take advantage at what they feel is the ridiculousness of human nature:  prolonged grief over the dead.  It takes all kinds, I guess.

Keith Josef Adkins is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and social commentator.

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