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El Weekender

No 90

The Confederate
Soldier Statue in
Denton (Part 1)  

By Alfredo Sanchez

It was back in 1999 when Willie Hudspeth, seeing the confederate statue at the Denton Down Town Square for the umpteenth time, decided he wanted to do something about it.

He pressed the Denton Historical Commission to get the water fountains operational like they once were when only whites could drink from these two fountains. It was Willie Hudspeth’s dream to have the water fountain as a teachable moment for those who visited the Denton Square that America had come a long way-- all Americans could drink from the same fountains that were once reserved for Whites only. Over the course of a few years, working with County Commissioners, the Historical Society permits, and funding was obtained to complete the renovations Willie Hudspeth wanted which was to get the water flowing in the fountains.

The funding obtained would allow the water fountains to come back to life. It would once again provide water to Denton Citizens but this time it would be to all Denton Citizens no matter their ethnicity. Every time a person drank from these water fountains they would take a step back in history when blacks and Hispanics could not drink from these fountains. People visiting the Denton Square would now have a chance to witness how far American freedom had moved forward. The teachable moment that Willie Hudspeth dreamed about was about to come to life.

In 2005, all the previous work that had taken place by County Employees was denied. Willie Hudspeth was told that no permits existed. Mr. Hudspeth believed all the that he was told until recently, when the Citizens Monument Committee, made up of concerned citizens, uncovered information that contradicted what he was told previously. It has been all documented in an extensive report that has been provided to all the County Commissioners and the District Attorney because of the funds that were received and not used for the intended use.

The Citizens Monument Committee has also documented that the water fountains were operational-- something County Commissioners have denied. Denton Record Chronicle articles uncovered from 1919, one announcing the mayor ordered the water turned on and a second (two weeks later) announcing the fountains were running.

These articles are not sufficient proof for a County Commissioner to accept that the fountains were ever operational. Denying that these fountains were ever functional denies that they were ever used for whites only. The denials go even further in that Official City Commission minutes from 1919 stating the mayor ordered the pipes laid and water connected to the fountain of the monument, is still not sufficient proof they ever worked, again denying they were segregated as whites only.

Residents of Denton have told the Commissioners Court that they were denied the privilege of drinking from the fountains as children because of the color of their skin--this too has been deemed insufficient proof they ever worked, denying again that they were ever segregated.



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