Thursday, May 9, 2024
Reclaiming forgotten Black history in Fort Worth. Four projects share stories in compact words.

Reclaiming forgotten Black history in Fort Worth. Four projects share stories in compact words.

The Unfinished Project of Liberation: Reclaiming History through Art and Culture in Fort Worth

The Amon Carter’s exhibition, “Emancipation: The Unfinished Project of Liberation” showcases how contemporary Black artists are reclaiming the narrative around slavery and liberation in Black history. But it isn’t the only project in Fort Worth exploring the idea of reclaiming history. Local arts, service, and historical organizations are working to reframe the conversation about Fort Worth’s history.

Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society

Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society:

Since the ‘70s, the Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society has been working to recognize Black history and culture in Fort Worth. Executive director Brenda Sanders-Wise said the organization was created in 1977 by Lenora Butler Rolla, a Black community leader, journalist, and entrepreneur.

“Mrs. Rolla began her stint with museums at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History as a docent,” Sanders-Wise said. “She couldn’t find any history of Blacks in universities, in the museums so that’s why she started collecting.”

Located in the Historic Southside, the Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society’s Lenora Rolla Heritage Center and Museum has been an educational and cultural space for Fort Worth communities for many years.

“Our history is invaluable, and when people come to visit us, they are amazed by what we have,” Sanders-Wise said.

Transform 1012 N. Main Street

Transform 1012 N. Main Street:

Eight local organizations are working together as Transform 1012 N. Main Street to reclaim the former Texas headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan and transform it into the Fred Rouse Center for Arts and Community Healing.

Daniel Banks and Adam W. McKinney, co-founders of the arts and service organization DNAWORKS, helped convene the coalition. McKinney said it’s a way for Fort Worth to enact change like other cities including Montgomery, Ala., with the Legacy Museum, and Washington, D.C., with the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Kinfolk House

Kinfolk House:

Letitia Huckaby is one of the seven artists who were invited to participate in The Carter’s “Emancipation” exhibition, but she also co-founded the collaborative project space Kinfolk House in Fort Worth that focuses on community and art.

“I believe that the best way to deal with the past is to not forget it and share it,” Huckaby said.

In the past, Kinfolk House has hosted projects like Formation, which featured a selection of sculptural works that explored how home and land say something larger about people and families.

Upcoming Projects

The National Juneteenth Museum will be a 50,000-square-foot cultural center in Fort Worth’s Historic Southside neighborhood. The museum, which is expected to open in 2025, will reflect on the significance of the day in 1865 when slaves in Texas received news that they had been freed.

It will include 10,000 square feet of immersive exhibition galleries, 250-seat theater, a business incubator, and food hall.

The Fort Worth African American Museum and Cultural Center is still in the initial planning stages. The project intends to recognize and preserve African American heritage in Fort Worth. Organizers are working with community groups and experts to finalize a location and assess feasibility.

Arts Access is an arts journalism collaboration powered by The Dallas Morning News and KERA.

This community-funded journalism initiative is funded by the Better Together Fund, Carol & Don Glendenning, City of Dallas OAC, Communities Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Foundation, Eugene McDermott Foundation, James & Gayle Halperin Foundation, Jennifer & Peter Altabef and The Meadows Foundation. The News and KERA retain full editorial control of Arts Access’ journalism.

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About Thaddeus Tran

Meet the incredible Thaddeus Tran, an esteemed author on our blog with a passion for history and heritage. Thaddeus delivers captivating posts that take readers on a journey through time. With his wealth of knowledge and impressive research skills, he offers valuable insights and fascinating stories that shed light on the past and inspire a deeper appreciation for our shared heritage. Follow him to discover the secrets and treasures of history!

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