Fred Rouse III didn’t learn the story behind his grandfather’s lynching in 1921 until last year.
He doesn’t know if his father was too hurt to tell his mother, or just doesn’t feel comfortable talking about it. Since then, he has started working with the Tarrant County Coalition for Peace and Justice to educate the community on what happened.
“There (are) so many people from Fort Worth who have never heard the story before,” said Rouse III. “Everybody is passionate about the story, and they treat my family and me with respect. We just think it’s amazing that so many people come out and support.”
The coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to memorializing victims of racial violence, will host a free community celebration on Dec. 11 honoring the legacy of Rouse’s grandfather.
Rouse was a non-union butcher for a meatpacking company in the Stockyards. He was attacked by a mob and left to die for crossing the picket line, On the way to the mortuary, police discovered Rouse was still alive, and brought him to the hospital. Five days later, he was kidnapped from the segregated ward of the hospital and brought to a tree off Samuels Avenue. He was hanged and shot, making him the only known African American to have been lynched in Tarrant County, according to the coalition’s history page.
Rouse III is now one of the coalition’s board members and will be at the unveiling.
“It never gets easier, (telling) the same story over and over,” Rouse III said. “It’s never getting easier because of the graphic nature of what happened.”
If you go
Time: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m
Date: Dec. 11
Location: 1000 NE 12th St., Fort Worth, TX
Last year, on the 100th anniversary of the murder, the group unveiled a historical marker at the lynching site.
“It was a somber event, and this year’s event is more celebratory in nature,” said Adam McKinney, president of the coalition.
Attendees will be able to participate in a collective soil healing ceremony. It’s an opportunity to actively heal the site by layering the land with organic materials from different locations, McKinney said.
Along with speakers, food and other forms of entertainment, the design firm that was hired to develop the site around the memorial will unveil its final design for the site. The firm plans to start construction on it next year and finish it in 2024.
“I would be remiss not to notice that this event is occurring during the trial of Aaron Dean,” said McKinney. “Remembering Mr. Fred Rouse also means remembering Atatiana Jefferson. With this event, we are also centering families effect by racial terror violence.”
Juan Salinas II is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter.