Racial Tensions Prevent Burial in Texas Cemetery
A Texas Cemetery is being sued for their "Whites Only" policy.
This is the plight of Dorothy Barrera. Her husband Pedro passed away, and she wanted to spread his ashes in the cemetery where she had purchased a plot, and was denied due to his Hispanic heritage.
When she questioned the decision, cemetery operator Jimmy Bradford allegedly responded that Pedro Barrera couldn’t be buried there “because he’s a Mexican” and directed her to “go up the road and bury him with the n----- and Mexicans.”
These details can be found in the federal lawsuit brought by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund against the Normanna Cemetery Association, which oversees the cemetery. The suit alleges that the association is violating federal Civil Rights Act.
Although the cemetery later back-tracked and allowed the burial to go forward, Barrera has not yet laid Pedro to rest. She is considering filing her own lawsuit, and the US Department of Justice is also looking it.
“We do think that this particular policy is emblematic of racial tensions that still exist in smaller rural communities in Texas,” Marisa Bono, the lead MALDEF attorney on the case, told the Texas Tribune. “Historically, Texas — especially south Texas — was sort of replete with segregated cemeteries and so there’s sort of an open question on whether this is still a problem.”
Segregated cemeteries are thing of the past due to laws passed in the 1940's, yet some still seem to linger within the state.
Jim Kennerly, a spokesman for the Texas Cemeteries association sums it up, It’s unfortunate because it’s against the law. I guess there’s still ignorant people out there.”