Local media jumps on cemetery story

Jackson, Mississippi TV station WLBT responded to the cemetery story with this segment.

The next day, the station ran a followup report in which they revealed the results of an “investigation” that found the gravestones had been moved to the Bolton cemetery — something that had been noted here four days before, but whatever: Good for them for sticking with the story.

Also on Tuesday, WJTV news aired this report.

The takeaway of the TV reports is, “A cemetery is being moved and local people are upset about it.” Neither addresses the central question, which is whether all of the graves have been or will be located and moved, including the unmarked graves family members say are located across an abandoned roadbed from the known cemetery. The state has said they’ve found multiple unmarked graves on the same side of the roadbed as the marked cemetery, without mentioning the ones family members say are located on the other side.

Other local news outlets, including Mississippi Today (which declined to run my original story) and The Clarion-Ledger, have since reported on the cemetery. Interestingly, state officials finally acknowledged the unmarked black cemetery to Mississippi Today and said they would clear the area and use geo-spacial imaging to locate the graves, if there are any — a time-consuming, laborious process. Two weeks later, those officials told The Clarion-Ledger they’d done it and there were no graves. Not everyone is buying that they looked hard enough, though, and the newspaper’s article focused on another aspect of the story, how the relocation of the graves will integrate the historically segregated Bolton cemetery.

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