Denton County Community Rememberance Project

Denton County Community Rememberance Project

Denton County Community Rememberance Project
July 15
15:55 2019

Denton’s NAACP President and historians are bringing home a monumental beam that represents two documented lynching’s in the Denton area.

The beam is currently displayed in The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, an exhibit within The Legacy Museum, located in Montgomery, Alabama.

This memorial brings recognition to victims of lynching in the United States.

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice has record of over 4,400 lynching’s in the United States, consisting of men, women, and children between 1877 and 1950.

This specific beam represents two individuals who were lynched in Denton County, specifically Pilot Point, TX.

The Pilot Point lynching was first published in 1922 in the Austin-American Statesman and held record of two unknown Black men being incarcerated and then disappearing.

Denton’s NAACP President Willie Hudspeth said the beam gives a voice to the victims of lynching.

“Those who were lynched lived and died violently,” Hudspeth said. “What was done to them is being swept under the carpet.

“People of power need to be reminded and the Legacy Museum is shining a light on that.”

Hudspeth, along with Denton Historians Shaun Treat and Chelsea Stallings have made an effort to bring back a piece of Denton’s history.

This project is known as the Denton County Community Remembrance Project.

“It’s a matter of balance and representation,” said Treat. “African American voices have been left out of Denton history and the beam will be an avenue for that.”

The project formed once Hudspeth and Stallings visited the Legacy Museum and toured The National Monument for Peace and Justice a year ago.

Chelsea Stallings called the memorial “one of the most emotional places” she had ever been to.

“It’s a warehouse where slaves were kept and taken to be sold,” Stallings said. “You just feel it all when your there.”

There, they found out that he Equality Justice Initiative for the museum duplicated the beams, so counties could get involved and bring one to their location.

Bringing the beam to the Denton community would not only show inclusion but display History and respect to those who were lost.

“We ultimately want to come together and memorialize—to say these African American Communities existed and that these two individuals lives mattered.” Stallings said.

Hudspeth hopes the beam will bring the Denton community together.

However, the outcome could be blurred because “The beam shines a light that isn’t so pretty,” Hudspeth said.

To get the beam to Denton certain requirements must be obtained.

Treat says to get the beam they must first apply for it, have a petition from members of the community, and create committees filled with community members who will decide on where the beam should be placed.

Hudspeth says, “The Denton City council would also like for evidence to be proven that people want the monument here.”

On June 19, 2019, also known as Juneteenth, a meeting was held in the offices of the Denton Record-Chronicle to discuss the lynching Monument locations and the historical marker.

About 20 people attended the meeting including former Denton City Council member Linnie McAdams.

“Peggy Riddle from Denton’s history office and museums suggested the historic park, but Linnie is guns hot to put the monument on the square,”  Treat said.

While Stallings has been communicating with the Equal Justice Initiative and sending in proposals, Hudspeth and Treat have been reaching out to students, churches, organizations, and other citizens in the community to sign and agree to bring the beam to Denton and to also get involved in the project.

According to treat, Pilot Point, Denton African American Churches, and more have joined the project and made progress.’

“The meeting really accomplished bringing people together,” Stallings said.

Once the beam is successful brought and placed in Denton, Hudspeth, Treat, and Stallings hope to move forward and establish more projects for inclusion in the Denton Community.

These projects include, generating more African American participation at the Quaker house, also known as Black History Museum in Denton, improving the Historical St. John’s Slave cemetery in Pilot Point, and placing a Texas Historical Marker for the new beam.

“This is not a Black issue this is a humanitarian issue,” Hudspeth said. “We all need to be in this together to write these wrongs and bring back history.”

Featured Image: An Image of The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. (Flickr Creative Commons Image “National Legacy Memorial Montgomery (AL)” (CC BY 2.0) by Ron Cogswell)

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Brittney Johnson

Brittney Johnson

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