A Texas woman is second-guessing burying the remains of her husband of 44 years in a cemetery that initially turned her away, telling her that burial was for “whites only,” the Daily Mail reports.
Last week Dorothy Patton Barrera, who is white, approached her hometown cemetery, seeking to bury the ashes of her husband, who was cremated. Barrera later said that she was turned away because her husband, Pedro, was Hispanic and the plot was for “whites only.”
Her story caused an uproar in South Texas, and the following day, the board of the San Domingo Cemetery in Normanna reversed the decision. However, now Barrera is not sure she wants her husband’s remains buried there.
“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,” the owner of the San Domingo Cemetery Association, Jimmy Bradford, told KIII-TV in an interview last week.
Barrera, naturally, said she couldn’t believe what she was hearing.
“Denying someone a burial on the basis of race is not only shocking—it’s illegal,” state Sen. Judith Zaffirini said upon hearing the story.
A day later, while reconsidering Pedro Barrera’s burial, Bradford’s daughter, who is the spokesperson for the cemetery, said that her father’s decision was not because of Pedro Barrera’s ethnicity but because the cemetery had started out as a burial plot reserved for the descendants of Normanna’s founders.
Pedro Barrera had lived in the town for 15 years prior to his death.
However, according to mySA, Bee County Constable Cliff Bagwell followed up, checking the cemetery’s records, and discovered that there was no mention of Hispanics or Latinos not being able to be buried there.
Dorothy Barrera hired an attorney and threatened to sue the cemetery and Jimmy Bradford.
“I’m 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 the other people if they’ll join me,” the widow told the station Fox29, the Daily Mail reports.