House of Ruth in Quakertown

Members of the House of Ruth, an African American women's organization that was active in Quakertown, pose for a photo on Oakland Avenue around 1910. A new grant will help Texas Woman's University students dig into the history of Quakertown, which was razed to build a city park in the 1920s. 

An infamous act of local systemic racism will be taught at Texas Woman’s University with the help of a national grant.

More than $99,000 in grant funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities will allow the university to dig deep with students into the history of Quakertown.

In 1921, Quakertown, the Black neighborhood founded in the 1880s as a freedmen community south of TWU’s campus, was removed and relocated to a different part of town because of white residents' fears that TWU students were unsafe living so close to Black people.

That effort was led by Denton’s United Daughters of the Confederacy, TWU’s president at the time, the Denton Chamber of Commerce and other local organizers.

Voters passed a bond election to displace over 60 families and black-owned businesses to create what Civic Center Park, now known as Quakertown Park.

Students will document, interpret and contextualize the events that took place around its campus and connect them to the current social climate. Student-led town hall forums will allow the university and Denton communities and policymakers to talk about Quakertown’s history and address its impact on the community.

The grant will also help enable the future development of digital humanities archive of Quakertown-related research and promote community engagement.

— Stephanie Salas-Vega

 

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