Death is indiscriminate -- it takes everyone. However Donna Barrera recently discovered that the skin color of her now-deceased husband, Pedro Barrera, matters to the San Domingo Cemetery in Normanna, Texas.
When Pedro died, Donna asked that her husband be buried at their local cemetery, but her request was denied by Jimmy Bradford, who runs the burial ground, because her Pedro is Hispanic. Bradford told KIII News that he doesn’t allow Hispanic or Black people to be buried in the cemetery. His great-great grandfather has reportedly given the land for the community cemetery.
Bradford doesn’t own the cemetery -- in fact, no one does -- but he does run the property. Bradford seemed unclear as to whether or not the cemetery was considered public, but Donna said she believed it was open to all residents of Normanna, a town of roughly 100 people.
“I feel like I need help,” Donna said.
Family friend Alfred Lopez was there when Bradford told Donna her husband couldn’t be buried there on the basis of his ethnicity.
“I just heard [Bradford] telling [Donna] he had to be buried over there with the Blacks,” Lopez said. “That’s very uncalled for.”
Amanda Brown, Donna’s caregiver, was equally surprised.
“There shouldn’t be no racism at all,” she said, shaking her head. “We’re all one kind and for him to have said that to her … it’s horrible.”
Bradford said he won’t reconsider his decision. When asked if he would change the policy, Bradford replied: “Well I guess if Obama comes down here and tell me, I guess I’d have to. Otherwise no.”
Donna is holding onto her husband’s ashes in the meantime.
Although KIII News reported there’s no legal basis or justification for Bradford’s policy, instances of racially segregated cemeteries in Texas are not uncommon. Earlier in 2016, the city of Denton, Texas, discovered that one of their cemeteries still technically had a whites-only policy, WFAA reported. The City Council has agreed not to honor the clause.