Written by Virginia Raymond
Read by Catherine Robb
Alberta Zepeda Snid was born in 1919 in San Antonio. As a child, she picked cotton, corn, and strawberries with her family, traveling as migrant workers from the Río Grande Valley to Michigan. They also shelled pecans and participated in the 1938 pecan-shellers' strike in San Antonio. In the 1940s, she met Joseph Sneed, a guitarist and pianist who played jazz and blues, perhaps at one of the Black-owned music clubs that provided rare spaces for interracial socializing. Because Texas law prohibited their marriage, they went to Mexico to marry, and together they raised four children. Joe Snid died in 1967, just days after the U.S. Supreme Court declared “anti-miscegenation” laws unconstitutional.
The Snids lived on the west side of San Antonio, in the Edgewood school district, the poorest in Texas. In 1968, when Edgewood students walked out to protest abysmal conditions and discriminatory teachers, Alberta Snid helped organize parents. Realizing that children in poor neighborhoods would always receive inferior education as long as schools were financed through property taxes, these parents challenged the school-funding scheme in a lawsuit called Rodríguez v. San Antonio ISD. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against low-income students in 1973, but the Edgewood community has not paused in its struggle for educational equity.
Alberta Snid later worked at the Mexican American Unity Council, where she advocated for Mexican Americans, women’s rights, and fair working conditions. She died in 1994.
Alberta Zepeda Snid, interview by María Flores and Glenn Scott. Transcription, People’s 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; Interview by Virginia Raymond, May 16, 2008.
Virginia Raymond, "SNID, ALBERTA ZEPEDA," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsn12).
Audio Source Information
Our project, "Texas Women's History Moments," received the 2012 National Council on Public History Outstanding Public History Award and the American Association for State and Local History Leadership in History Award. The audio clips were broadcast on KUT radio from 2011-2016 during Women’s History Month.