Hackberry tree branches hang from the ceiling at the end of the hallway in TCC’s East Fork building.
The branches are part of an art exhibit recounting the last days of Fred Rouse, a Black Fort Worth resident whose death is the city’s only recorded lynching. Rouse was hanged from a hackberry tree on Dec. 11, 1921.
Tarrant County College’s Trinity River campus is hosting the exhibit titled “Shelter in Place.” The creators want to spread awareness of Rouse’s story and spark conversation on how the area can heal from racial injustice toward Blacks. The exhibit closes March 6.
Adam McKinney, president of Tarrant County Coalition for Peace and Justice, collaborated with photographer Will Wilson and Daniel Banks, Co-Director of DNAWORKS, on “Shelter In Place.”
Banks highlighted the exhibit’s ending, where attendees are encouraged to write their thoughts and place them on the exhibit’s reflection wall.
“We are always moved by the community contribution as part of the work and are thrilled to see so many people offering such thoughtful and inspiring responses to the question: How do we heal?” Banks said.
On Feb. 24, a few reflections on the wall included “Taking one step at a time.” and “By accepting pain as part of life and learning from it.”
McKinney represents Rouse in the five landscape portraits on display. Each picture highlights a key location of Rouse’s final days, from Rouse standing in front of the meatpacking company where he worked to his unmarked burial site.
The exhibit includes an augmented reality element. Attendees can use an app that shows McKinney, acting as Rouse, doing a performative in each portrait. Soil from where Rouse was lynched also is on display.
TCC art professor Janae Corrado appreciates how respectful students have been when experiencing the exhibit.
“This is not the typical art exhibit that we show on campus,” Corrado said. “They have been treating it with a lot of respect, but also there’s a lot of reflection.”
If you go:
What: Shelter In Place Art Exhibit
When: Open until March 6. 8 a.m-7 p.m. Monday through Thursday. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday. Closed on weekends.
Where: East Fork building, Tarrant County Community College Trinity River Campus, 300 Trinity Campus Circle, Fort Worth
Editor’s note: This article was updated on Feb. 28 to clarify that Fred Rouse is Fort Worth’s only Black lynching victim on record and updated on March 2 to correct the name of the building on the TCC Campus.
Juan Salinas II is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at email@example.com or on 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.