Cedars Memorial Gardens in Mineola, Texas, just 75 miles east of Dallas, has ended its historically racist tradition of separating Black and white burial plots.
What We Know:
- On Wednesday, municipal crews dug out a fence that was separating the graves. The 60-year-old fence is another relic from the Jim Crow era. Originally, the cemetery was meant to only hold the graves of white people.
- The removal of the chain-link fence began on Wednesday and was set to be completed in four days, according to the President of the Cedars Memorial Gardens, David Collett. The fence was about 1,280 feet long, and the removal project ended up being completed Friday evening.
- The City Council, with a push from manager Mercy Rushing, approved the funding to remove the fence. Calls for removing the fence date back to 2007, when Pastor Demetirus Boyd, from the predominantly Black St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Mineola, requested reform in the cemetery.
- “I got the explanation that in times past it was known as the White cemetery and the Black cemetery, and the fence was a divider between the two properties that were there,” Boyd told CNN affiliate KLTV.
- Pastor Boyd also had a partial success by convincing the Cedars Memorial Gardens board to create a new entrance in the front of the property since the entrance to the Black section of the cemetery was only accessible from a back road, NBC 5 reported.
- After his efforts, Boyd is reluctantly satisfied with the graveyard fence being gone. However, he’s still concerned about the current social environment the U.S in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the ongoing protests across the country, despite a pandemic taking place.
Cedars Memorial Gardens has had a historical stigma of treating Black people as outsiders. The cemetery was actually previously called the City of Mineola Cemetery. On the other hand, the predominately Black cemetery was just named, City Cemetery.