SACRAMENTO, CA - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it is embarrassed by the use of the "N-word" in the 1954 relocation of burial plots at Sacramento's Negro Hill Cemetery.
More than a dozen private burial plots moved during the construction of the Folsom Dam repeatedly were referred to in documents and on headstones with the "N-word," KCRA-TV, Sacramento, reported.
"It's embarrassing," corps spokeswoman DeDe Cordell told the station, adding signatures indicate federal, state and county officials knew of the racial slur's use during the relocation.
"We have released all our records. We don't know who first started using the term," Cordell said.
But activists with the Negro Hill Burial Ground Project say they don't believe the corps is unable to determine who is responsible for the name change.
"If the federal government can find Osama bin Laden, they certainly know something more about this. Someone wrote those reports. Someone took pictures," said Ralph White, president of the Stockton Black Leadership Council.
"However, I think it's great news that the documents were released. It's a big first step in the right direction to find out what happened."
While the Corps no longer owns the property, Cordell said volunteers are willing to remove the slur from headstones if the community so desires.