Soooooo….this happened. Dorothy Berrera, a white woman married to her Mexican husband, Pedro, for over 4 decades, went to have his ashes interred at the San Domingo Cemetery and ran into a problem I wish I could say I couldn’t believe: She wasn’t allowed to bury a Latino there because it was “whites only.” I really do wish I was making that up.
According to the lawsuit, cemetery operator Jimmy Bradford told Barrera that her request to bury her husband at the cemetery had been denied by the Normanna Cemetery Association. When Barrera questioned the vote, Bradford allegedly responded 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,” the federal complaint details.
The excuse is that the rules were left over from the days of Jim Crow but that was over 50 years ago so that dog won’t hunt. Also, whoops, the Supreme Court ruled segregated cemeteries illegal all the way back in 1948. This was just scummy racists that assumed they could protect their segregationist ways while hoping no one made a federal case out of it.
But of course, that’s exactly what Dorothy did.
The association that runs the cemetery has already relented (are they not merciful?) but the investigation is still ongoing. A lawyer for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the group that is helping Mrs. Berrera with his lawsuit had this to say:
We do think that this particular policy is emblematic of racial tensions that still exist in smaller rural communities in Texas,” said Marisa Bono, the lead MALDEF attorney on the case. “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.
This kind of racial nonsense is still going on in Texas, yet the conservative wing of the Supreme Court in its infinite wisdom declared racism dead when it gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013. It makes you wonder what planet they were living on when they came up with their ruling.
Dorothy has yet to bury her husband’s ashes in the San Domingo Cemetery and she may decide not to, but she’s fighting for her RIGHT to do so and that’s how we progress as a country. Good luck to you, Mrs. Berrera. Give ’em hell!
Featured image via youtube