SACRAMENTO - For almost 60 years, some graves in a California cemetery have carried the "N-word," modern America's most provocative racial epithet, officials said.
The graves in the Sacramento-area cemetery contain the bodies of people who had been buried in the community of Negro Town, which carried that name in the Gold Rush era, The Sacramento Bee reported.
However, when the bodies were moved in 1954, someone in an official capacity had new grave markers made bearing the words "(racial slur) Town."
Since then, no one has been willing to claim the authority to change them, said one man who's been working 10 years to correct the situation.
"Why is it a challenge to remove that? Nobody really understands," Michael Harris, head of the Negro Hill Burial Ground Project, said.
Negro Hill was founded in 1848 by African-Americans from the East on land between two forks of the American River, now under reservoir water behind Folsom Dam.
In 1954, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers took responsibility for relocating bodies from cemeteries that would be flooded by the rising waters.
A local contractor was paid to do the work, and he contracted with another man for the headstones, news reports of the time said.
The situation may be close to being rectified, officials said.
"You'll probably be seeing a proposal in the next few weeks," said Mike Applegarth, a spokesman for El Dorado County, a few days after Harris made an appeal to the county's Board of Supervisors.