Denton Record-Chronicle (Denton, Tex.), Vol. 114, No. 200, Ed. 1 Sunday, February 18, 2018 Page: 3 of 34
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Sunday, February 18, 2018
A lonely Denton watchdog finds allies
e was a lonely watchdog. I
remember 19 years ago when
Willie Hudspeth explained to
me why he was ready to do battle with
the Confederate soldier statue at the
Denton County Courthouse on the
He didn’t want it knocked down.
He just wanted an explanation added
to reflect modem times. He was pretty
much alone on this.
I’ll always remember how Willie,
who was then my son’s middle school
football coach, explained it: “I’m a
teacher, an educator. I know that to
get people to learn, you jump right
into the issues and talk about them.”
For most of the years that followed,
he stood alone on the issue. He
marched every Sunday evening on the
courthouse Square. He appeared before
county commissioners, meeting after
meeting, year after year. He asked for
action, any kind of action. But mostly,
for a long time, he was ignored.
Then came Charlottesville. The
white nationalist rally in August that
led to a counterprotester’s murder
suddenly thmst Willie’s cause to the
forefront. Suddenly, he had dozens of
supporters. Suddenly, the county
commissioners reversed course. After
almost two decades of saying no, they
agreed to create an advisory commit-
tee on the fate of the monument.
This month, the volunteers recom-
mended leaving the statute as is, but
with an explanation added to reflect
modem times. County commissioners
must approve and fund the next steps.
Nineteen years. That’s all it took.
But Denton didn’t need Charlottesville
to pay attention. Denton has its own
Charlottesville. It’s called Quakertown.
And its tragic story began a hundred
What happened there, and the
unnecessary 19-year delay to get coun-
ty leaders to agree to something as
simple as adding an explanation that
reflects modem times, shows me that
Denton County still hasn’t come to
terms with its racially divisive past.
Back to Quakertown
Go back with me in time, a hun-
dred years, to a thriving middle-class
community of 80 black families who
live in Denton’s Quakertown neigh-
borhood. The name honors Quaker
abolitionists who helped in the Un-
It’s 1918, and Quakertown has a
doctor’s office, restaurant, general
store, funeral home, school, churches,
lodges and more.
That same year, not far from the
thriving community, the Daughters of
the Confederacy have erected a monu-
ment on the courthouse lawn that
honors CSA, Confederate States of
Two years later, in 1920, we hear
the president of the growing women’s
College of Industrial Arts situated a
block away from Quakertown’s edge
promote the notion that Denton
“could rid the college of the menace of
the negro quarters in close proximity.”
At a Rotary meeting, he launches
the idea, which gains strength among
Denton’s white leaders, who want to
build a new city park.
I I •
Now travel with me 11 years for-
ward to 1929. The neighborhood is
long gone, replaced by the new Civic
All families that once lived here
were evicted and forcibly moved to a
converted cow pasture with no city
The government and voters did it
the legal way. In 1921, they held a
$75,000 bond election to pay for the
The “park movement” side won
367 to 240 votes. Most Quakertown
residents were not allowed to vote on
Bond money was used to buy
Quakertown’s homes and businesses,
move them or seize them — and build
The Ku Klux Klan was around, but
whether they assisted is murky. Den-
ton had 294 initiated Klansmen
around that time, according to Uni-
versity of North Texas graduate history
student Chelsea Stallings’ 2015 Qua-
It took Denton, both city and coun-
ty, many decades to remember and
acknowledge the lost community. In
2007, Civic Center Park was renamed
Historical markers try to tell the
story. One marker pretties up the civic
embarrassment, claiming the neigh-
borhood was “transformed” into a park.
What replaced the lost community
and its surroundings? Modern-day
Denton. A civic center, library, wom-
en’s club building, senior center, com-
munity pool and Denton City Hall.
More Denton County residents
have learned of Quakertown’s past in
the last 20 years. An original Quaker-
town house serves as the Denton
County African American Museum.
There’s momentum to make
amends. The Denton ISD board recent-
ly voted to remove the name Robert E.
Lee from an elementary school.
Launching his battle
When he launched his battle in the
late 1990s, coach Hudspeth, who later
served on the Denton ISD board, was
my son’s teacher. He was a rabble-
rouser who tried to solve problems.
His methods were unconventional
yet dramatic. In 1998,1 chaperoned
one of Willie’s school field trips. He
took three busloads of middle school-
ers to a privately run prison in north
He ushered a select dozen eighth-
graders to the front row.
“These people are the smart
mouths,” he informed the inmates.
The murderers, drug addicts and
thieves told the students about their
Photos by Rex C. Curry/The Dallas Morning News
Willie Hudspeth has called for the removal of a Confederate statue at the Denton County Courthouse on the
Square for years. Now he’s running for county judge.
ABOUT THIS COLUMN
The Watchdog Desk works for you to
shine light on questionable practices in
business and government. We welcome
your story ideas and tips.
Contact The Watchdog
Write: Dave Lieber, P.0. Box 655237,
Dallas, TX 75265
mistakes. One inmate yelled, ‘You
want to go back and get locked up
right now? ... Get that smirk off your
face! Your counselor says you’re going
to end up here.”
Parents later complained to the
administration. Willie got in trouble.
The prison trips ended. But I kept my
eye on him.
; v ,v v
: ' „
$ ... x> . r\ f fe*
Horn vs. Hudspeth
Willie has dogged Denton County
Judge Mary Horn for so long. In an
irony, she appointed Willie to the
Horn, who until then had blocked
Willie’s quest, said of the monument,
“It’s not even glorifying the Confederate
war. It’s a monument put up by these
women who wanted to acknowledge
the loss of their loved ones, their hus-
bands, their fathers, their brothers.”
The monument went up 53 years
after the Civil War ended, and three
years before the Quakertown evic-
m BY \ If I:
EM fJf TUP.
Horn, after serving since 2002 as
the county’s top administrator, is
retiring this year. Willie, 72, is running
for her job in the March 6 Democratic
primary. His opponent is Diana Leg-
Win or lose, as is his habit, he
promises to keep protesting every
Sunday until an explanation is added
to reflect modem times.
Dallas Morning News staff writer
Marina Trahan Martinez contributed
to this report.
Cody Goodman, holding a sign, debates the issue of the Confederate sol-
dier monument with a group that calls themselves the Proud Boys on Feb.
U in Denton. Activist Willie Hudspeth, center right, has long called for the
removal of the Confederate statue from the lawn of the Courthouse on the
Early voting for March primaries begins Tuesday
■ Little Elm Recreation Center, 303
■ Pilot Point Senior Center, 310 S.
■ Timberglen Recreation Center, 3810
Timberglen Road, Dallas
Early voting for the March 6 primaries
begins Tuesday and continues through
Friday, March 2. On Tuesday, March 6,
voters must go to their voting precinct
to cast their ballot.
For more information, visit www.vote
ELECTION 2018: IMPORTANT DATES
Party primary races are Tuesday, March 6. Voters may vote in only one
political party's primary. Here are some important election deadlines:
First day of early voting — Tuesday, Feb. 20
Last day to apply for a ballot by mail (for voters with a disability or
age 65 an older) — Friday, Feb. 23
Last day of early voting — Friday, March 2
Deadline for mail-in ballot to be received — 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 6
For more information, visit www.votedenton.com.
SPECIAL EARLY VOTING
EARLY VOTING SITES
The following early voting sites will be
open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday
through Friday, Feb. 23; 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 24; lto 6 p.m. Sunday,
Feb. 25; and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday
through Friday, Feb. 26-March 2:
■ Carrollton Public Library, 4220 N.
■ City of The Colony Annex Building,
6804 Main St.
■ Copeland Government Center, 1400
FM424, Cross Roads
■ Corinth City Hall, 3300 Corinth
The following early voting sites will also
be open, but with limited dates and
■ Denton Civic Center, 321E. McKinney
St., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through
Friday, Feb. 23; 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday
through Friday, Feb. 26-March 2
■ Sanger Church of Christ, 400 N.
Locust St., Sanger, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday through Friday, Feb. 23; 7 a.m.
to 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24; 7 a.m. to 7
p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 26-27;
7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28;
and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and
Friday, March 1-2
■ Denton County Elections Administra-
tion, 701 Kimberly Drive, Denton
■ Denton County Southwest Court-
house, 6200 Canyon Falls Drive, Flower
■ Flower Mound Police and Municipal
Court Building, 4150 Kirkpatrick Lane
■ Frisco Fire Station No. 4, 4485 Cotton
■ Frisco Fire Station No. 7,330 W.
■ Highland Village Municipal Complex,
1000 Highland Village Road
■ Justin Municipal Complex, 415 N.
■ Krum ISD Administration Building,
1200 Bobcat Blvd.
■ Lake Dallas City Hall, 212 Main St.
■ Lewisville Municipal Annex, 1197 W.
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ACROSS THE STATE
Drug deal set up online
ends in shooting
Authorities say a drug deal
an 18-year-old in San Antonio
had set up on Facebook turned
out to be less than social.
San Antonio police say the
teenager was shot and injured
around 3 a.m. Saturday as he
tried to sell the drugs outside his
home after setting up the trans-
action on the popular social me-
Investigators say something
went wrong with the deal and
the two males who had come to
buy the drugs shot the teen-
student sent a message on Snap-
chat Friday morning indicating
he was going to shoot a middle
school in Missouri City.
In the other incident, a 15-
year-old is accused of sending a
message Friday afternoon
through Snapchat that con-
tained an image of students
fleeing the deadly school
shooting in Parkland, Florida.
The student claimed the same
would happen at a charter
school in Katy.
The sheriff’s office says the
students were each charged with
making a terroristic threat, a fel-
Official: Rail used by
Amtrak is compliant
An Oklahoma transporta-
tion official says rail used by Am-
trak for the Heartland Flyer that
runs daily through Krum be-
tween Oklahoma City and Fort
Worth complies with a new
speed control system.
Amtrak President and CEO
Richard Anderson has said it’s
possible service will be suspended
on tracks that don’t have what’s
known as positive train control.
— The Associated Press
Teens arrested for
threats against schools
Authorities say two teenagers
accused in separate incidents of
making threats through social
media to harm people at two
Houston area schools have been
In one incident, investigators
with the Fort Bent County Sher-
iff’s Office allege a 14-year-old
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Parks, Scott K. Denton Record-Chronicle (Denton, Tex.), Vol. 114, No. 200, Ed. 1 Sunday, February 18, 2018, newspaper, February 18, 2018; Denton, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth1137794/m1/3/: accessed July 19, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; .