Funeral home offers itself as crossing racial lines

IF YOU GOWhat: New funeral home grand openingWhen: Oct. 21, 2 to 5 p.m.Where: 1724 McCallie Ave., Advantage Funeral HomeWhy: Refreshments, door prizes provided, Tours availableContact: 423-265-4414Source: Advantage Funeral & Cremation Service

Black and white Americans have settled many of their differences of late, but they still generally prefer to keep things separate but equal when it comes to worship and death.

Funerals in particular are especially segregated, allowing mourners to stay in their comfort zone as they grieve for lost loved ones.

The way it plays out, white funeral homes serve whites, black funeral homes attract blacks, while Hispanic or Jewish funeral homes handle their respective peoples, funeral officials say.

"In the South, it's still old-school," said Bradley Smith, funeral director for Advantage Funeral Home and Cremation Service. "Even the cemeteries are segregated."