Mr. Fred Rouse was lynched on Sunday, December 11, 1921, at the corner of NE 12th Street and Samuels Avenue in Fort Worth, TX. Tarrant County Coalition for Peace and Justice (TCCPJ) has initiated a project to transform the site into The Mr. Fred Rouse Memorial.
The Rainwater Charitable Foundation (Fort Worth) awarded TCCPJ a grant in January 2021 to purchase the site and to begin the planning stages for the memorial.
TCCPJ’s goal is to reclaim this historical site of trauma and use the site as a foundation for community healing and memorialization.
An Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) historical marker memorializing the lynching of Mr. Rouse will be installed at the memorial site, as part of EJI’s Community Remembrance Project. EJI is a national movement based in Montgomery, AL that collaborates with U.S. communities to memorialize victims of racial violence and foster meaningful dialogue about race and justice.
The committee overseeing the planning and design for the memorial is made up of TCCPJ board members, historians, educators, and professionals from the architecture, engineering, and construction industries.
Members of Mr. Fred Rouse’s family are involved in the visioning plans for the memorial and are central to the development of the memorial through all stages of planning and installation.
Dr. Diane Jones Allen is Professor and Program Director for Landscape Architecture in the College of Architecture, Planning, and Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington. She has earned numerous national awards for her firm’s work and was named a Fellow by the American Society of Landscape Architecture. She holds a BFA in Fine Arts from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri; an MLA in Landscape Architecture from the University of California Berkeley; and a PhD in Engineering – Transportation Engineering from Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland.
Dr. Austin Allen is an Associate Professor of Practice in the School of Architecture in the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Policy at the University of Texas Arlington. He was an Associate Professor in Landscape Architecture at Louisiana State University and Department Chair as well at the University of Colorado Denver. Allen is a filmmaker and served as an Associate Professor of Film and Communication, Cleveland State University. Dr. Allen holds a PhD and MA from Ohio University and a BA in Landscape Architecture, University of California, Berkeley, and was named a College of Environment + Design Distinguished Alumni in 2017.
Public acknowledgment of mass violence is essential not only for the victims and survivors, but also for perpetrators and bystanders who suffer from trauma and damage related to their participation in systematic violence and dehumanization.
Many communities where lynchings took place have erected monuments recognizing the Civil War, the Confederacy, and white Southerners’ violent retaking of local power after Reconstruction. But very few monuments or memorials address the history and legacy of lynching, and most victims of lynching have never been publicly acknowledged.
We believe that understanding the era of racial terror is critical if we are to confront its legacies in the challenges that we currently face from mass incarceration, excessive punishment, unjustified police violence and the presumption of guilt and dangerousness that burdens many people of color.
In order to memorialize the African American victims of racial terror lynching the Equal Justice Initiative introduced their Community Remembrance Project. It encourages US communities to remember the victims of racial terror lynching that occurred in their counties. They do this by collecting soil from the site of the lynching, and by erecting a historical marker to remember the victim, whose life was taken in this brutal way.
The Soil Collection Ceremony for Mr. Fred Rouse was held on December 11, 2019, the 98thanniversary of his lynching and death.
More than 800 jars of soil from lynching sites across the country are now exhibited in the Legacy Museum which traces the history of enslaved black people in America from the horrors of slavery to the terrors of lynching, the humiliation of Jim Crow, and the current crisis of police violence against blacks.
Mr. Fred Rouse’s Jar is among them.
A few blocks from the museum, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice is one of the country’s first memorials to more than 4,000 lynching victims. The six-acre site contains 801 six-foot monuments constructed of corten steel to symbolize their brutal deaths, museum officials say.
The names of the victims are carved into the steel columns that dangle from beams, much like the lynched bodies of men, women and children dangled from trees.
Mr. Fred Rouse’s monument is among them.
In addition . . .
TCCPJ will hold a groundbreaking ceremony at The Mr. Fred Rouse Memorial at 1 pm on Saturday, December 11, the 100th year after the racial terror lynching of Mr. Fred Rouse. The ceremony will feature comments from TCCPJ leaders, members of the Mr. Fred Rouse family, and city and county leaders.