FIRST HISTORICAL MARKER OF ITS KIND IN TEXAS!
Slocum, Texas- On Saturday, January 16, 2016, a historical marker commemorating the Slocum Massacre and listing the names of its officially acknowledged victims will be unveiled in southeastern Anderson County. THIS WILL BE THE FIRST HISTORICAL MARKER IN TEXAS ACKNOWLEDGING RACIAL VIOLENCE AGAINST AFRICAN AMERICANS. The unveiling will take place on MLK Day weekend, just two weeks shy of the one-year anniversary of the marker’s landmark approval by the Texas Historical Commission. The dedication ceremony will be held at the Slocum ISD cafeteria auditorium at 1:00 pm and Dr. Malachi Crawford, Assistant Director of the African American Studies Program at the University of Houston, will be the keynote speaker.
One of the darkest moments in Texas history, the Slocum Massacre began on July 29, 1910. After false rumors of an African American uprising were circulated, armed white men from all over the region began pouring into the Slocum area and killing African Americans at will. The carnage went on for two days and though dozens of African Americans were reported slain, authorities identified only eight victims. “Men were going about killing Negroes as fast as they could find them,” said Anderson County sheriff William Black. “And, so far as I was able to ascertain, without any real cause. I don’t know how many [whites] were in the mob, but there may have been 200 or 300. Some of them cut telephone wires. They hunted the Negroes down like sheep.”
The bloodshed led to a racial expulsion and many African Americans abandoned homes, property and businesses and fled for their lives. Sheriff Black and District Judge Benjamin H. Gardner worked diligently to hold the perpetrators responsible and seven white men were indicted; but the case was never prosecuted. Black and Gardner were shortly voted out of office and the indictments they secured were transferred to Harris County and subsequently ignored.
Most of the identified casualties of the Slocum Massacre were interred in an unmarked mass grave which, to date, has not been located. Neither the dead nor their disenfranchised relatives ever received justice or recompense and the white population of the Slocum area was permitted to claim or repurpose the abandoned African American properties as they saw fit and consign the egregious affair to oblivion.
SLOCUM MASSACRE RECOGNITION
On March 30, 2011—after reporter Tim Madigan’s two-part, investigative feature revisiting the atrocity appeared in the February pages of the Fort Worth Star Telegram—the 82nd Texas Legislature adopted House of Representatives Resolution 865 (filed by Reps. Marc Veasey and Lon Burnam), officially acknowledging that the Slocum Massacre occurred. Three years later, after the publication of The 1910 Slocum Massacre: An Act of Genocide in East Texas (History Press, 2014), author E. R. Bills and Slocum Massacre descendant Constance Hollie-Jawaid petitioned the Texas Historical Commission for a historical marker commemorating the incident and their request was approved on January 29, 2015.
SLOCUM MASSACRE MARKER DEDICATION CEREMONY
DATE: 1 pm, January 16, 2016 LOCATION: Slocum ISD, 5765 E. State Hwy 294, Slocum, TX 75839
NOTE: The main portion of the dedication ceremony will take place at the Slocum ISD Cafetorium. The actual unveiling of the marker will occur after, at the site of the marker a half-mile south of the school on the west side of FM 2022.
SLOCUM MASSACRE MARKER DEDICATION CEREMONY INFORMATION
CONTACT: Constance Hollie-Jawaid (EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org / PHONE: 214-842-1221) or E. R. Bills (EMAIL: email@example.com / PHONE: 817-454-3189)