In Recognition of the African American Community of Quakertownby Representative Michael C. Burgess
Posted on 2013-02-14
in the house of representatives
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Mr. BURGESS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the dedication of
the State of Texas' Historical Commission with the placement of an
Official Texas Historical Marker on behalf of the African American
Community of Quakertown.
In the early 1880s, Quakertown emerged as a thriving African American community in the heart of Denton, TX. Quakertown flourished through 1920, its growth due in part to its location near the city square and the opportunities it provided for African Americans. The community was bounded by Withers Street on the north, Oakland Avenue on the west, Bell Avenue on the east, and by Cottonwood and Pecan Creeks on the South. Although many residents worked for businesses on the nearby city square, at the College of Industrial Arts (now Texas Woman's University), and as servants for white households, Quakertown prospered as a self-supporting community. Several churches, a physician's office, lodges, restaurants, and small businesses joined homes to line the streets of the community. The neighborhood school, the Fred Douglass School, burned in Sep. 1913 and was rebuilt along Wye Street in Southeast Denton in 1916, foreshadowing events to come.
By 1920, the proximity of Quakertown to the growing College of Industrial Arts and the civic-minded interests of Denton's white residents threatened the future of Quakertown. Many believed that it was in the best interest of the College and the Denton community to transform Quakertown into a city park. In Apr. 1921, with little input from its residents, the City voted 367 to 240 in favor of a bond to purchase Quakertown. More than 60 families lost their homes. The majority of the displaced residents relocated to southeast Denton on 21 acres of land, platted as Solomon Hill, sold to them by rancher Albert L. Miles. Others, including many Quakertown Community leaders, chose to leave Denton altogether. By Feb. 1923, Quakertown had disappeared in the midst of the new park's construction.
The Texas Historical Marker commemorating the site was approved by and paid for by the Texas Historical Commission as one of a select group of applications made each year to recognize undertold stories. The selection was a result of a successful 2010 application by the Denton County Historical Commission, supported through the efforts of the Denton Public Library and the Denton Parks and Recreation Department.
It is my honor to recognize these organizations and the efforts of the individuals involved and to represent Denton County and the City of Denton in the House of Representatives.
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