SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio woman is being remembered for fighting against racial inequality in the U.S. and then fighting for her country with 24 years of service in the Army.
Patricia Baskerville Dilworth, a former Mississippi Freedom Rider and U.S. Army veteran, died on Feb. 21.
Her funeral services will be held Wednesday, March 3, at Macedonia Baptist Church with burial at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery on March 23.
State Rep. Barbara Gervin Hawkins, San Antonio District 2 Councilwoman Jada Andrews-Sullivan, and The Mississippi Freedom Riders will present resolutions on her behalf during the service.
Dilworth, who is originally from Tucson, joined the Freedom Riders in 1961 when she was 17 years old after seeing Black people beaten, buses set on fire and segregation signs placed over water fountains.
The Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated southern United States to challenge the non-enforcement of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions which ruled that segregated public buses were unconstitutional.
“The bus rides called national attention to the disregard for the federal law and the local violence used to enforce segregation in the southern United States,” a press release states.
Dilworth became involved with CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) led by James Farmer, Ph.D, whose philosophy was nonviolent protest and was arrested during non violent protests in Mississippi and Houston, according to a press release.
Dilworth joined the U. S. Army on March 4, 1974, and retired June 1, 1998, as a sergeant major with 24 years of service. She was the wife of Curtis Dilworth and a mother.
For several years, Dilworth and other Mississippi Freedom Riders gathered in San Antonio each January to participate in lectures and Martin Luther King Jr. events.
“My whole thing was how can you treat someone that is as much a human being as you are, how can you treat them like that because of the color of their skin?” Dilworth said.
“I waved at the waitress and asked her, ‘Can I get served?’ and she told me I had to go to the back. I said, ‘Back of what?’ and she said, ‘restaurant.’ And she said that’s where you will be served,” Dilworth said.
Dilworth was arrested when she was 18 in Mississippi for going into parts of a train station that were designated for white people only.
“(In jail) we were allowed once a week to take a shower,” she said.
Dilworth told KSAT that the fight for justice isn’t over.
“I see us going back and I hope people will fight that. Not just for blacks, for anybody that is being persecuted,” she said.
Viewing services for Dilworth will start at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Macedonia Baptist Church located at 963 SW 40th St in San Antonio with a funeral to follow at 11 a.m.
Watch an interview with Dilworth and other Freedom Riders from 2019:
Watch an interview with Dilworth and other Freedom Riders from 2020: