After a Martin Luther King Jr. monument in downtown Fort Worth was vandalized in February, the community showed what it meant to come together at the revitalized monument’s unveiling June 16 at General Worth Square, which is named after the namesake of Fort Worth, General William Jenkins Worth.
“We’ve come a long, long way since June 19, 1865. But every bit of progress that we’ve made in the 158 years since is in danger, because there are those who do not like freedom and there are those who feel threatened by our freedom,” Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Charles Brooks said.
Guests proposed a new Fort Worth tradition — the Sixteens Days of Freedom Challenge that will run from June 19, 2024 – July 4, 2024. The challenge entails hosting a “freedom event every day,” Rev. Kyev Tatum said. Some of those events include film watch parties and discussions.
Organizers hope to bring community members together through the Sixteen Days of Freedom Challenge.
“We’re in their way, and they know that if, and when, Black folk and Brown folk join together, in coalition, that we can take over this state and take over this nation,” Brooks said. “They are determined to keep that from happening by any means necessary.”
Brooks said people need to push back against hate every time they deface the Martin Luther King Jr, marker. “You can deface it each and every day, but we’re coming along right behind you to restore that marker.”
After a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation and General Order No. 3, which proclaimed all enslaved people in Texas to be free on June 19, 1865, visitors enjoyed barbecue and music and children enjoyed bounce houses.
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.