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Civil Rights Group Sues 'Whites Only' Cemetery in Texas

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Brian Latimer | NBC News

The nation's foremost Latino civil rights organization is suing a cemetery association in South Texas because a widow alleges the caretaker refused to take her husband's ashes because he was Mexican.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the American G.I. Forum of Texas, which alleges the Normanna Cemetery Association has historically been a "Whites Only" cemetery, turning away Latino and African American requests for decades.

The lawsuit seeks a court order to end the discriminatory practices and open the cemetery to people of color and immigrants.

"Segregated cemeteries were part of an architecture of discrimination against Latinos in Texas," said Marisa Bono, MALDEF Southwest Regional Counsel, wrote in a press release. "We look forward to closing this shameful chapter in our state's history."

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