A Denton cemetery is the subject of debate due to being a “whites only” burial site. A councilman is aiming to remove a deed restriction that bans blacks from being buried in a city-controlled cemetery. According to USA Today, the hard part is going to be eliminating the language out of the real estate that belongs to the historic Independent Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery.
“You have to have so many of the property owners within that restricted area agreeing to change it,” said Council Member Dalton Gregory. “Well, this is a cemetery.”
The Denton cemetery that’s a white’s only site became an issue when civil rights activist and Denton’s NAACP chapter president, Willie Hudspeth, addressed it.
“It was actually a white guy that told me,” Hudspeth said. “I didn’t believe it at first. Surely, there would be someone here that is not white!”
Gregory claims that there are African-Americans and people of other races buried at the Denton cemetery.
Deed restrictions haven’t been enforced since 1950, a proposed ordinance states. Language in the deed does state “whites only.” Gregory says that since it’s history, people have to live with it and “acknowledge it.”
The language in Gregory’s proposal states:
“A restriction contained in the 1933 deed between the IOOF and the City of Denton convening the said cemetery to the City of Denton prohibiting the use of the said cemetery for the burial of non-white persons (is) illegal, unenforceable, unconscionable, contrary and repugnant to the philosophy, principals and beliefs of the City of Denton and that the said restrictive language shall not be enforced or recognized on any city-owned or managed property”
Hudspeth is glad the city is moving at a rapid pace to remove the deed restriction on the Denton cemetery.