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Slave's descendants want new trial for cemetery ownership

3 years 5 months 1 week ago Tuesday, June 02 2015 Jun 2, 2015 June 02, 2015 9:00 AM June 02, 2015 in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Chris Nakamoto

PLAQUEMINE- Descendants of a slave buried in a historic cemetery are demanding a new trial, after a Judge tossed out their claims of ownership two months ago.

At issue is who owns the Revilletown Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the Axiall Chemical Plant.

"I will fight them to hell and back," Janice Dickerson said.

All of Dickerson's family members are buried back there.

"My momma's back there, dad back there, brother's back there, grandparents, great grandparents and I'm simply not going to give them to Axiall," Dickerson said.

She sued when she caught wind that a nearby church was charging for burials on land it did not own. According to records in the courthouse, a deed dating back to 1881 shows the Mount Zion Baptist Association owns the cemetery. The assessor's office even has the property assessed to the MZBA.

However, during a court hearing two months ago, Judge James Best ruled that Axiall is in possession of the cemetery. He also issued a judgement saying MZBA is not the owner and all claims by MZBA were dismissed.

Dickerson said she's trying to preserve the history and forget about the pain her relatives went through. That fight is underway as she diligently tries to make sure they rest in peace. She hopes for a new trial when this goes before a judge tomorrow, but she's prepared in case things don't go her way.

"We will take it to the appellate court and all the way to the supreme court because we are not willing to give our dead people to a major chemical corporation," Dickerson said.

We reached out to the attorney representing Axiall, but did not hear back by news time.  All sides are set to be in court at 9 a.m.

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