Fred Rouse III, the grandson of Fred Rouse, who was kidnapped and lynched in 1921 in Fort Worth, spoke to residents recently at his grandfather’s memorial dedication.

Tarrant County Coalition for Peace and Justice, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and Performing Arts Fort Worth, Inc. hosted a Texas Heritage Trails historical marker unveiling Dec. 11 at the Maddox-Muse Center, 330 E. 4th St., which was once the Metropolis and County Hospital, where Rouse was kidnapped in 1921.

The marker for Rouse will allow visitors of downtown Fort Worth to learn the long-buried history of the city. 

After the marker unveiling, visitors moved 1.5 miles north to the intersection of NE 12th Street and Samuels Avenue, where Rouse was shot and hanged from the “Death Tree,” an infamous lynching tree in Fort Worth.

The Tarrant County Coalition for Peace and Justice, led by Adam McKinney, collaborated with the Rainwater Charitable Foundation to purchase the land where Rouse was murdered.

Now, a memorial sits in the place where the tree once stood.

“We must remember that our Fort Worth has a history of white supremacy. This history does not sit external to the landscape of white supremacy in America as a whole,” McKinney said. “However, examining Fort Worth as a microcosm of white nationalism and white supremacist activity can help us determine potential solutions to ending oppression.”

The marker and memorial are only the beginning of a long journey to “better understand our present” by looking back at history, he added. The Fred Rouse Memorial will ​​“reclaim the historical site of trauma and use the site as a foundation for community healing and memorialization.”

Rouse III had a message for those gathered Dec. 11: “Please, America, take the rope off our necks.”

“This land is sacred,” Rouse III said. “Everyone here has the ability to love one another. Everyone here has the ability to end racism. Everyone here can recognize the pains of the past and then heal the hearts of the future.”

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Cristian ArguetaSoto

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. He can be reached at cristian.arguetasoto@fortworthreport.org or (817) 317-6991.

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