In Cedars Memorial Gardens in Mineola, Texas, a 60-year-old chain link fence has been removed.
The chain ‘s purpose is to segregate people of color. The black people were buried on one side while whites were buried on another. Each side is owned by a separate cemetery association, not by the city.
Mineola city manager, Mercy Rushing, said in a CNN report said that over the past 20 years the issue of the fence had come up off and on.
There was an effort in the past by citizens, with the help of the city, to ask the cemetery associations to consider removing this fence, but it didn’t happen until recently, and On July 15, the fence was removed.
Rushing said that it took a public works street department crew of five to remove all 1,280 feet of fencing, which was finished Friday.
Demethruis Boyd moved to town in 2006 and became the pastor at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church. After attending a funeral, he realized the cemetery was segregated and he couldn’t believe that something like that still existed.
“I was really shell-shocked that in that season of time, the days we were living in, that something like that was still up and had the perception that it gave off,” Boyd said.
“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.”
“That kind of spearheaded my heart to kind of see what we could do about the presentation that it represented and possibly get a resolve that might be conducive with both parties.”
After asking questions 14 years ago, Boyd said some changes were made including the separation of burials based on skin color and a name change from Mineola City Cemetery to Cedars Memorial Gardens, but, the fence remained.
On July 13, Rushing said she received an email from a former Mineola High School student who was attending a funeral for a classmate and said she didn’t realize the cemetery had been segregated while she was a Mineola resident.
“She began to ask me if there is something that the city can do to remove the fence and make it where both work together and be united,” Rushing said.
With the help of Boyd, Rushing said that she then got in touch with both cemetery property owners and brought them together to start a dialogue about the fence. Ultimately, they all decided to remove it.
“The fence that once separated us brought us back together by uniting and removing it once and for all.”