Allen Brooks, victim of lynching in 1910, recalled to Dallas

Allen Brooks, a Dallas handyman accused of raping a little girl, was awaiting trial on March 3, 1910, when a crowd stormed the courtroom...


Allen Brooks, a Dallas handyman accused of raping a little girl, was awaiting trial on March 3, 1910, when a crowd stormed the courtroom.

As The Dallas Morning News reported the next day, Brooks, who was black, had a noose tied around his neck and was pulled from the second story window of the courthouse. His body was then dragged several blocks to Elks Arch, a major landmark in downtown Dallas. Brooks was hanged from a telephone pole and lynched at the corner of Main and Akard streets.

“While the lawyers were preparing the motion, a crowd entered the courtroom and killed the accused,” Judge Robert Seay wrote in the court file. “Case closed.”

The arch was dismantled less than a year later, but now a new landmark has been erected where it once stood. During a ceremony Saturday at the Brooks lynching site, the Dallas County Justice Initiative unveiled a landmark marker recognizing the crime committed 111 years ago. Local advocates say the marker is the first memorial of its kind for a lynching victim in Dallas County.

“Everyone knows JFK was murdered here in Dallas, we have no problem recognizing that part of the story,” said George Keaton Jr., executive director of the nonprofit Remembering Black Dallas , in a recent interview. “But when it comes to our people of color, the sins and misdeeds that white America has done to our people, they don’t want to be known.”

According to Christopher J. Dowdy, director of studies at Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Brooks was repairing a furnace in a white family’s home on February 27, 1910, when the family’s 3-year-old daughter, Mary Ethel Beuvens, went missing. Brooks, who is believed to be 59, was found with the toddler less than four hours later. For his research project, “Dallas UntoldDr. Dowdy combined sensationalist local articles from the time with court records to provide a detailed account of what happened to Brooks.

After the man and child were examined by doctors, Brooks was charged with rape. Dr Keaton said there was no evidence of this crime and the child had no injuries.

According to Dr Dowdy, around 5,000 people witnessed the lynching at Elks Arch, a three-story white, blue and purple structure that marked the main entrance to town. Its white metal was named after every county in Texas.

The Dallas County Justice Initiative, which is also led by Dr Keaton, has been working to secure funding for the marker from the Community commemoration project the Equal Justice Initiative, which “works with communities to commemorate documented victims of racial violence”.

“One of the great tragedies is that there are many lynchings that we will never know anything about, because there was simply no way to document them,” said Bryan Stevenson, executive director of Equal Justice Initiative, in an interview. “And so this marker for Allen Brooks represents what happened to him, but it also represents what happened to thousands of other people, whose names we will never know.”

Next month, the Dallas County Justice Initiative plans to hold a second ceremony in honor of Reuben Johnson, who was lynched in 1874.

“Most Americans know very little about this story when it is so central to American history,” Stevenson said.

While the two historical markers will represent only a small fraction of the racial violence that has taken place in a state where at least 335 lynchings of African Americans have taken place, Dr Keaton said, they are more than he could not have imagined it 20 years ago.

“It means a lot to me,” Dr. Keaton said. “It means Dallas has moved on.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Allen Brooks, victim of lynching in 1910, recalled to Dallas
Allen Brooks, victim of lynching in 1910, recalled to Dallas
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