A rally calling for racial unity at the site of a Confederate monument in Denton attracted more reporters than participants Friday, but its organizer was undaunted.
Willie Hudspeth, a Denton activist who planned the rally after initially calling for the removal of the statue, walked up and down the sidewalk in front of the memorial carrying a sign that said, ''God loves us all,'' with a smiley face drawn in the ''O'' in the word ''God.''
The rally, he said, was intended to send a message of unity to the Denton community. That effort succeeded, he said.
''It's not a political statement to try to get notoriety or fame. It's a conviction I have and I still have it. I planned if no one else shows to be out here walking by myself.''
Mr. Hudspeth initially called for the removal of the statue after a proposal surfaced to reactivate water fountains on both sides of the 81-year-old memorial.
He said at the time that the statue represented an affront to the black community akin to the prominent public display of a Confederate flag.
The proposal to restore the drinking fountains, which is apparently now in limbo, caused a furor because the statue is considered offensive enough as it is and should not be improved, some members of the black community said.
Mr. Hudspeth said he backed way off his original idea to remove the statue after speaking to friends who convinced him that it is right to honor the memory of Confederate soldiers. Now, he says, he actually will help restore the plumbing if a plaque that makes note of the black experience in Denton is added to the monument, on which the water fountains were once for whites only.
Some passers-by made comments about the statue. Ken Burt, a Flower Mound man, brought two flower displays and placed them in each of the fountains.
''My great-grandfather was in the Confederacy, but he didn't own slaves. He was a dirt farmer,'' he said. ''I just think the guys should be honored. I don't think it should be moved or put into a museum or cemetery. It's good just where it is.''
Four others - three white women and a black woman - joined Mr. Hudspeth in his one-hour demonstration, which frequently was interrupted by television and print reporters who interviewed him as he walked.
''Whenever I get an opportunity to try to make things better, I will. If I'm just standing alone, I'll do it.'' Mr. Hudspeth said he is planning another rally for unity at Fred Moore Park in Denton on Sept. 8.