A grieving widow, Dorothy Patton Barrera, says that she was turned away from San Domingo Cemetery in the small town of Normanna, Texas, because her husband of 44 years, Pedro, was Hispanic. Dorothy says that she approached the cemetery about purchasing a plot to bury her husband’s cremated remains. However, upon further investigation, the cemetery allegedly turned away Mrs. Barrera, noting the cemetery was for “whites only,” and a Hispanic man could not be buried on the premises.
The Daily Mail reports that widow Dorothy Patton Barrera had husband Pedro Barrera’s remains cremated as she looked for a proper burial place. The widow decided she would prefer her husband’s remains to stay nearby, so she went to San Domingo Cemetery to see about securing a burial plot. When Mrs. Barrera approached the owner of the cemetery, she claims that she was refused service because her husband Pedro was Hispanic. The cemetery owner reportedly told Barrera that the cemetery was for “whites only.”
— FOX 11 Los Angeles (@FOXLA) March 7, 2016
The grieving widow tells Fox 29 she is going to fight for her husband’s right to a proper burial in her hometown, noting that she plans to sue the cemetery.
“I am going to sue him. I am going to sue him and I’m still going to fight for the rights of my husband and I’m going to fight for the rights of other people if they’ll join me. If they’ll join me in a march, I’ll march with them.”
After a rash of negative media attention, just 24 hours after denying Barrera services due to her husband’s Hispanic descent, the cemetery told the widow that they had changed their mind and that Pedro’s remains could be buried in one of their plots. However, the widow says she no longer knows if she wants to bury her husband there, as they have been vocal about their past history as a “whites only” cemetery.
In fact, in an interview with KIII TV, the San Domingo Cemetery Association owner Jimmy Bradford admitted that he didn’t want Pedro buried at the cemetery because he “wasn’t supposed to be buried there” because “he’s a Mexican.”
“He wasn’t supposed to be buried there, because he’s a Mexican, or of Spanish descent, or whatever you want to say. That’s what I told her and that’s what we’ve been doing.”
Bradford went on to admit that this general historic rule is what he informed Mrs. Barrera of when she approached him about the plot. The owner notes that the “whites only” rule has been in place since the beginning of the cemetery due to the fact it was originally set up as a cemetery for descendants of Normanna founders, who were all white.
Cemetery records do not indicate an ethnicity clause, which would be illegal under Supreme Court ruling of 1948 Shelley v Kraemer, which made it illegal to make racial covenants on real estate, including cemetery plots. Despite the long-standing Supreme Court ruling, it seems that San Domingo Cemetery has continued their history as a “whites only” cemetery, hoping that no one like Mrs. Barrera would come along to push the issue. However, with Barrera claiming she is taking the case to court and making the issue known to the public, it seems unlikely that the Texas cemetery will be able to continue the racial discrimination.
— Joshua Fechter (@JFreports) March 8, 2016
What do you think about the Texas cemetery owner admitting that as “a Mexican wasn’t supposed to be buried there?” Do you think Barrera should continue to pursue the lawsuit despite the cemetery now offering to allow her to bury her husband on the property?
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