FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) — There were those who wanted to tear it down, and others who wanted to leave it standing — but definitely reimagined. Now, a once meeting hall for the KKK in North Texas will be ‘a space of truth, reconciliation, and liberation.’

Transform 1012 N. Main Street (T1012), a non-profit coalition of local arts, grassroots, and service organizations, announce Tuesday the purchase of the former Ku Klux Klan Klavern No. 101 Auditorium in downtown Fort Worth, not far from the courthouse.

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(credit: Google)

The acquisition is a step in the movement toward transforming the building into The Fred Rouse Center for Arts and Community Healing.

“I envision a crossroads where all of Fort Worth can gather; where every cultural group feels a sense of belonging, of being seen, represented, and listened to; where we celebrate the richness of our individual cultures freely and openly; and where repairing past harm and damage leads to greater respect and appreciation, creativity, and love—of self and one another,” said Daniel Banks, Ph.D., with DNAWORKS, a founding organization of T1012.

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The Fred Rouse Center for Arts and Community Healing will honor the life and memory of Mr. Fred Rouse, a Black butcher who was lynched by a white mob in Fort Worth in 1921.

Organizers say the goal of the project is to return resources to the communities that were ‘targeted for marginalization and violence by the KKK.’

The plan is to transform the space into a cultural hub with: a state-of-the-art performance space; arts training and programming; services for underserved and LGBTQ+ youth; exhibit spaces dedicated to social justice and civil rights; a makerspace and tool library for local DIY classes; meeting spaces for racial equity and leadership workshops and community events; an outdoor urban agriculture and artisan marketplace; and affordable live/work spaces for artists- and entrepreneurs-in-residence.

“As a child, my family lost our home to 500+ people, and I don’t know if they were Klansmen or what they were, but they didn’t want us in the neighborhood,” said community and Juneteenth activist and founding board member Dr. Opal Lee. “I want people to know that they can work together, live together, play together — and this building personifies that to me.”

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T1012 is a member of The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, a global network of historic sites, museums, and memorials dedicated to promoting and protecting human rights in different regions of the world.

CBSDFW.com Staff