A Fort Worth arts organization is inviting people on a tour to honor the memory of Fred Rouse, a Black man who was lynched in the city almost 100 years ago.
DNAWORKS’ Fort Worth Lynching Tour: Honoring the Memory of Mr. Fred Rouse brings participants to places associated with Rouse’s murder, with the help of an interactive app that offers historical context and video performances associated with each site.
In December 1921, Rouse was working at a meatpacking plant in what is today the Fort Worth Stockyards. He was hired while union workers were on strike, DNAWORKS’ app explains, and after strikers outside threatened him, he was accused of shooting two white men.
A mob beat him, but Rouse was still alive, and taken to the hospital. Several days later, another mob abducted him from the hospital and killed him.
Co-founder and co-director Adam W. McKinney said the tour pushes against the urge to cover up shameful episodes in Fort Worth’s history.
“We are trained not to notice. We are trained to forget. And simply we invite people to remember. And we know that art can be a way in to soften our landing,” he said.
McKinney said looking back at the past and acknowledging it can be healing, especially because racist violence persists in America today.
The tour highlights sites such as the cemetery where Rouse is buried; the spot where the tree he was hanged from once stood; and the old City & County Hospital the mob kidnapped him from.
Daniel Banks, who is co-founder and co-director alongside McKinney, said the act of remembrance is important. If people look away from these painful histories, they don’t just disappear.
“They fester. They are a cancer in our society and in our collective consciousnesses. They draw emotional resources and spiritual resources from us without us even knowing, because they’re always there until they’re addressed,” he said.
The Fort Worth Lynching Tour: Honoring the Memory of Mr. Fred Rouse will run on weekends from March 27 to May 2, and you can make reservations on Eventbrite. Participants can choose between bike and car tours, and reservations are pay-what-you-can.
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