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After Being Placed In Basement Near Racist Sign, Black Ellis County Constable Gets Private Office

Curtis Polk Jr. talks on a Facebook livestream.
Bret Jaspers
/
KERA News
Curtis Polk Jr. is an Ellis County constable and its only Black elected official. He spoke on a Facebook livestream about reaching a compromise following an office rearrangement that left him in the basement. Polk Jr. was the only elected official without a private office.

A clash over offices in Ellis County government this week grew into a story about race and respect. All sides now say they found a compromise.

Curtis Polk Jr. is an Ellis County constable and its only Black elected official. But an office rearrangement left him as the only elected person without a private office.

His new spot — in the basement — also forced him to walk past the word “Negroes” painted on the wall. Decades ago, the sign marked racially-segregated spaces, and had been uncovered after a historical restoration.

The situation is resolved now. Polk said he sat down with the Ellis County Judge to reach a solution.

"If you set the political aside, the race aside, individuals can work together and accomplish a goal," he said.

The sign was covered with paper.

"The judge had the opportunity to cover it up, but he can’t actually give the approval to remove it by himself," Polk said.

He said the local historical society will have to review the options for removal. Polk also received a private office.

Ellis County Judge Todd Little said he wanted all elected officials to have their own offices.

"We respect all of our elected officials," he said. "We want each of our election officials to have private offices, under lock and key, and this will assist in that process."

In a Facebook Live Stream, Little said the county’s outgrown its facilities, and the temporary plan wasn’t well thought out. He also said the county will review constable salaries in the future.

Got a tip? Email Bret Jaspers at bjaspers@kera.org. You can follow Bret on Twitter @bretjaspers.

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