Quakertown: A Vibrant Black Town Demolished for Its Embarrassment to a White College

1 Posted by - September 28, 2018 - LATEST POSTS

During the twentieth-century in Denton, Texas, residents had a sense of pride for the community they worked hard to build. Many people had arrived to the area after the Reconstruction period, and were now trying to establish better lives for their family. Many of the settlers were also leaving areas to escape White plantation owners who were pressuring them to return to plantation life.

Quakertown was a thriving black community that was nestled at the banks of Pecan Creek. There were almost sixty middle and working class black families living in town in 1920. The town was located below the College of Industrial Arts, an all-white women’s college. The Quakertown community consisted of peaceful hardworking people who got along well with their White neighbors. Many of the Black workers held jobs working for White employers, and were allowed to frequent White businesses when needed. However, the Blacks still were often reminded that they were not equal to the Whites.

Together the Black men and women worked hard to make their community better. They  opened up a Black grocery store and mortuary. The group made sure that their bills were paid on time regardless of the small pay they were receiving. Women would take in laundry, or work at the homes of White families to help with household expenses.

As time went on, the College of Industrial Arts, sitting at the hill of the town began to grow. There was a need to expand the school into a liberal arts college. The college officials regarded Quakertown as an embarrassment and danger to getting their bid accepted for expansion. The officials described the town as mud-line streets, laundry-filled yards, and yards filled with groups of black children. The town was something that the college did not want visitors to see.  Many officials agreed that something had to be done about the embarrassment to the school. The school wanted to build a park and move the Black residents to another side of town.

Once the residents of Quakertown heard about the plans to build a City Park where their homes stood, they became worried and upset; many of them feared they would ultimately have no where to go.  The committee of concerned Blacks asked that the Commission pay full price for their property, but they feared they would not receive what they asked. Some residents were given the price value of their homes, but there were others who did not receive anything.

Some blacks packed up and moved on, and there were some who moved to a new community called Solomon Hill. Solomon Hill, was the land of A. L. Miles. Miles. Miles had borrowed money to purchase 60-acres of land but was unable to make the payments. He saw the Quakers moving to his location as an answer to his money problems.

The plans for the park went underway, and after it was finished the White communities enjoyed the beauty and serenity of the park. The Blacks who moved from their once vibrant town were struggling. Many of them could not get to their jobs easily because lack of transportation, and were finding it difficult to pay bills.  Many of the businesses that the people of Quakertown had before the move did not survive. The community lost many of their business leaders and businesses. The Black people of once Quakertown now found themselves again at the mercy of the White people. Something they moved to Quakertown to get away from in the first place.

 

sources:

https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrqgk

https://localwiki.org/denton/Quakertown

 

 

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