Rural cemetery practices: Mexicans and Nixon, Texas

Date
2016
Authors
Perez, Tess
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Abstract

This study focuses on segregated cemetery burials and its practices of racially segregated cemeteries in a rural South Texas town. Presently, racial segregation continues to dictate specificities of burial sites according to race. I focus on the historical origins of this practice over time in the city of Nixon, Texas, a tradition that foments control and social dominance over Mexican Americans. This cultural accommodation and ambivalence towards segregation in the community continues to be in practice. With this visual and spatial ethnographic account, I rely on photographs and topographic maps to document and make visible five burial sites: The Latin American Cemetery, the HC-RS Cemetery what was previously known as the Nixon Negro Cemetery, Nixon Cemetery, Rancho Cemetery, and St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery, formerly known as Demmer Cemetery. I illustrate and document these practices with photographic images of ancestors buried in the Latin American Cemetery. With burial dates and surnames of the deceased, as well as geographical location pertaining to the graves, I map out racialized burial practices, so as to make visible and expose racism in South Texas. Also, I call attention to the existence of such sites with the goal of inducting these cemeteries into the National Registry of Historical Landmarks.

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Keywords
Burial customs, Funerary practices, Mexican American culture, Racialized cultural practices, Segregated cemeteries
Citation
Department
Bicultural-Bilingual Studies