The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released documents Tuesday acknowledging it was responsible for using a racially inflammatory version of the name Negro Hill when that town's cemetery was moved to El Dorado Hills to make way for Folsom Lake in 1954.
Negro Hill's old cemetery on the land between forks of the American River was one of several moved when Folsom Dam was built.
Instead of saying Negro Hill, though, markers in the new Mormon Island Cemetery, to which bodies were taken, instead use a word too raw to use in the newspaper.
They say the bodies were moved from (N-word) Hill.
The markers don't refer to those buried there who were most likely of various races but only to the town's name.
"We don't know why, when in so many other instances the cemetery was called Negro Hill, the new gravestones and our records use the more offensive word," wrote Corps Lt. Col. Andrew B. Kiger, in an apologetic memo accompanying the released documents.
The documents, released after a formal public records request by the Associated Press, include photos, maps, proposals, contracts and reports, all of which refer to the town cemetery using the N-word.
The community was founded as Negro Hill in 1848 by at least one settler of African descent.
Most historical maps refer to it as Negro Hill, but at least two use the offensive name.
One is a 1944 U.S. Geological Survey map, showing Folsom as just a tiny grid, and indicating (N-word) Hill School. That may be what the Corps of Engineers used.
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