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SNID, ALBERTA ZEPEDA

SNID, ALBERTA ZEPEDA (1919–1994). Alberta Zepeda Snid, labor and education activist, was born on the west side of San Antonio on April 8, 1919, one of the five daughters of Cirilia Méndez and Pedro Zepeda. Pedro Zepeda was an agricultural laborer. The Zepeda family migrated south to the Río Grande Valley and as far north as Michigan and Illinois to pick cotton, corn, strawberries, and other crops. Cirilia Méndez Zepeda, her daughters, and occasionally Pedro Zepeda also worked as pecan shellers at the Zarzamora Street plant in San Antonio. Pedro, Cirilia, Concepción, and Alberta Zepeda participated in the three-month pecan-shellers' strike that began on January 31, 1938. Along with other strikers, the Zepeda family was arrested and jailed for one or two days. Alberta Snid later told her children that the strikers sang the whole time that they were in jail. After the strike, Alberta Zepeda returned to work at the factory.

Alberta Zepeda first married Santos Adame. Their son, Lawrence or Lorenzo, was born in 1941. Following the dissolution of this marriage, Alberta Zepeda married Joseph Sneed. Sneed, born in San Antonio on August 23, 1915, had grown up on the city's east side. He worked for the U.S. Treasury Department and later for himself as a television repairman. Sneed, a guitarist and pianist, performed jazz, blues, and popular Mexican songs both in local clubs and on tour as far away as Chicago. During the 1940s and 1950s, black-owned music clubs in San Antonio provided rare spaces for interracial socializing, despite police harassment.

The marriage of Alberta Zepeda, who was "Latin American" and thus "white" under Texas law, and Joseph or José Sneed, a "Negro," violated the Texas anti-miscegenation statute. The couple married in a civil ceremony in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. Years later they celebrated their marriage as a sacrament in St. Gabriel's Catholic Church in San Antonio although the Texas anti-miscegenation statute remained in force.

Alberta and José had four children: José Alberto, Catalina, Angelina, and Selina. Although José, Sr., was born with the name S-N-E-E-D, he and Alberta Hispanicized the spelling of the family name to S-N-I-D. By 1962 the family lived in the Edgewood School District. Alberta was a catechist and very involved in St. Gabriel's Catholic Church. Religious classes (CCD) from St. Gabriel would often take place in the Snids' shady yard in the days before the church had classrooms. Alberta Zepeda Snid made clothing for her children from flour sacks. She was a Cub Scout mother and active in the PTAs at Stafford Elementary, Escobar Junior High School, and Edgewood High School, which her children attended.

José Snid, Sr. died on June 16, 1967, by drowning, possibly after being beaten. Four days earlier in Loving v. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court had struck the Virginia anti-miscegenation statute, deeming all such laws unconstitutional. Bexar County, however, still refused to recognize the Snids' marriage, initially refusing to release José Snid, Sr.'s, remains to Alberta Snid.

Alberta Snid had been widowed less than a year on May 16, 1968, when students walked out of Edgewood High School. Her son, José Alberto, was in ninth grade at Edgewood. Snid helped organize the Edgewood parents. Alberta and her children José Alberto, Catalina, Angelina, and Selina became plaintiffs in Rodríguez, et al. v. San Antonio ISDqv; Lorenzo was a soldier by that time. Alberta Snid was the only single woman named as a plaintiff. From about 1970 to 1977, Alberta Snid worked for the Mexican American Unity Council (MAUC) where she was a mental health outreach worker. Within MAUC Snid advocated for the rights of women employees and against changes in the organization's priorities and practices. She participated in a strike against MAUC and helped feed co-workers who quit or were fired during the dispute. Alberta Zepeda Snid died on November 22, 1994. She is buried next to her husband, José Snid, in the San Fernando Cemetery #2, in San Antonio, and was survived by her five children and several grandchildren.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Richard Croxdale and Melissa Hield, eds., Women in the Texas Work Force: Yesterday and Today, (Austin: People's History in Texas, 1979). Arnoldo De León, Mexican Americans in Texas: A Brief History (Arlington Heights, Illinois: Harlan Davidson, 1993). Virginia Raymond, Mexican Americans Write Toward Justice in Texas, 1973–1982 (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas at Austin, 2007). Alberta Zepeda Snid, Interview by María Flores and Glenn Scott, Transcription, People History in Texas Records, 1976–2005, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. José Alberto Zepeda Snid, Telephone Interview by Virginia Raymond, March 25, 2008.

Virginia Raymond

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Virginia Raymond, "SNID, ALBERTA ZEPEDA," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsn12), accessed September 01, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.