Social Justice

Marginalization and inequalities occur all over the United States continent since, after the conquerization of the land and people, the new laws and enforcements discriminate minority races. In particular, by viewing the graves and the landscapes physical conditions in Hidalgo County Public Cemetery (HCPC) we can witness such aspects of neglect and marginalization from the other cemeteries. To express the findings of marginalization and inequalities the project needs to explore the neighboring cemeteries. What should be compared is the date range of the burials, race types, maintenance of the site, maintenance of individual graves, and difference of used grave markers. With all that, we can address the issue of diversity to find if racism has taken place in this mainly Hispanic descended area.

Date range of burials can help view the start of burials and the end. Has this location filled up leading to the need to start other cemeteries nearby? Or did the other cemeteries also began burials at the same time? How old are the decedents? In Hidalgo County Public Cemetery Project (HCPCP) there are some burials that have been relocated to this area. Why where they moved? Was there a renewal movement at their previous location? In all, the date can help view the shift of people migrating into the region and the past race as well as class that dwelled within Edinburg, Texas.

Maintenance of site shows how the owner has the number of funds gained from the burials to continue maintaining the land clear and clean. When the HCPCP began the area had no restroom facilities unlike the neighboring cemetery Hillcrest who has a building. Even more, most of the road is dirt road whereas Hillcrest has paved roads. There were no trash cans in the location when first starting the project. Now there is one. In fact, now there is more maintenance of yard work compared to the first day of the project. Moreover, there is no inputted sprinkler system in HCPC but there is in Hillcrest. therefore, we can state that the owner does not have the funds like how Hillcrest has. Is it because HCPC was cheaper to purchase compared to purchasing a grave plot at Hillcrest. This can help figure out the class of the region.

Maintenance of individual graves can explain reasons why the location looks like it does. The amount of people who still visit their buried family members by leaving offerings (such as flowers) gives a glimpse of what family members are still present in the area. It can also help determine if some have been forgotten or have no determination of who they are.  In HCPC there are some burials with no names and date of birth as well as death. Did someone know this person? Is this location a place for lower income, therefore, the family members had no money to buy a durable gravestone? Has the time caused failure to remember where their family member was buried? For sure, it is a lower class graveyard. Do the other cemeteries also have poor grave monuments? Also, have some of the there burials been of people that no one recalled since their death, which caused the city to bury them in this location.

Grave markers can determine the type of class the family and deceased stood on. Here there are some that are just a wood marker, with no name and date. Has there been a previous maker that was stolen or broken? Or was that the original? Also, there are a lot of grave markers that are personally made rather than store bought. Did they want to make them themselves or was it more inexpensive than buying one? We can analyze the type of material used like if its something you can easily find lying around the house. For example, fencing made out of house bricks. This could have been leftover material from their house. There are some who seemed very expensive like those made of marble or granite. How many of there stone monuments are there in the area? Compare to the other cemeteries. This can determine the number of well-off people in the region.

It is how Paul A. Shackel conducts his research in New Philadelphia with the assurance  that “the history of racism on the landscape is obvious (Shackel, 2007: 252).” With all these questions we can answer if there is a separation of class and race. Then, we can raise the consciousness of the landscape history in order acknowledge the city’s cultural aspects, classification, and historical shifts (Paul Mullins, 2007: 97). We can then ask ourselves if there have been improvements in racial norms and marginalization or is there a maintenance. It is obvious that there is marginalization within this area. The researchers are here to address these inequalities and make aware to the public of the graveyard that has been forgotten.

0 thoughts on “Social Justice

  1. This blog post asks some great questions that really allow for the audience to get thinking, however, some of the questions have been previously answered in reviewing the creating of the Hidalgo County Pauper Cemetery. The first definition of the word ‘pauper’ is, “a very poor person.” The pauper cemetery was intended for individuals that could not afford the luxuries, such as marble, granite, etc. This, already, gives the idea that less fortunate individuals will likely bury their family members here. Another question I noticed was the sprinkler system. A member of the county has stated that he has intentions to input a sprinkler system but he would like for the project to provide information telling him where he can and cannot locate it. Though the cemetery was intended for families that may have been poor, or even discriminated against, there are many people working towards ensuring it does not look that way. There is word that a, African American cemetery is just a little bit down the way from the HCPC so this also provides insight on a sense of discrimination that was being held at the time this all began. Other than that, many great questions were asked in this post and should not be overlooked. Small observations should be further explored, no doubt.

  2. I think your line of questioning is excellent. You don’t explicitly state it, but your post heavily implies that you would agree that the reason there is no sprinkler system or rigorous maintenance at HCPC is not only because of a lack of funds to maintain it, but also because of a distorted perception of the HCPC interred individuals’ worth versus that of the individual in the private lawn. Again, I don’t want to read too heavily into the implications of your post, but I must say I agree firmly if this were your assertion. I think it’s pretty obvious that there has been a deliberate neglect of the cemetery property. We know for certain the cemetery has wavered between being public and privately owned. Therefore, we don’t know when the disparate care between Hillcrest and HCPC started, but we do know that neither owner ever produced the means to maintain the cemetery lawn as manicured as the Hillcrest property across the pathway today.

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