|I'd like to tell you a story now. It's moving. It's important. It's local.
Thee same year of the Tulsa slaughter in 1921, something similar happened in Denton, Texas. A hundred years ago, there was a thriving middle-class community of 80 Black families who lived in Denton's Quakertown neighborhood.
In 1918, Quakertown had a doctor's office, restaurant, general store, funeral home, school, churches, lodges and more. That same year, the Daughters of the Confederacy erected a monument on the courthouse lawn that honors Confederate States of America.
Two years later, in 1920, the president of the growing women's College of Industrial Arts, situated a block away from Quakertown's edge, promoted the notion that Denton “could rid the college of the menace of the negro quarters in close proximity.”
At a Rotary meeting, he launched the idea, which gained strength among Denton's white leaders who wanted a new city park. In 1921, they held a $75,000 bond election to pay for the project.
The “park movement” side won 367-240. Most Quakertown residents were not allowed to vote on their future. Bond money was used to buy Quakertown's homes and businesses, move them or seize them — and build the park. All families that once lived here were evicted.
They were forcibly moved to a converted cow pasture with no city services. The Ku Klux Klan was around, but whether they assisted is murky. Denton had 294 initiated Klansmen around that time, according to University of North Texas history student Chelsea Stallings' 2015 study.
By 1928, the neighborhood was long gone, replaced by the new Civic Center Park. It took Denton, both city and county, many decades to remember and acknowledge the lost community. In 2007, Civic Center Park was renamed Quakertown Park.
After learning of this, I researched the Klan's influence in Denton at the time. I focused on research by four UNT history students who found — not surprisingly, that some Denton police were Klansmen. Here's that story.
P.S. Pic below is of Quakertown residents.