A Dallas mob lynched a Black man 113 years ago. A new plaque marks where the tragedy started
A new historical marker dedicated Thursday in downtown Dallas marks the tragic murder of Allen Brooks, a Black man lynched by a mob at the Dallas County Courthouse in 1910 ahead of his trial for the alleged assault of a young girl.
Brooks, 65, was accused of assaulting a nearly 3-year-old girl while working at her family's home, according to the Texas Historical Commission.
Before a pretrial hearing on March 3, 1910, the mob came into the courthouse and seized him, tied a rope around his neck and threw him from the second story window. Brooks was then dragged down Main Street and ultimately hanged from a telephone pole near the Elks arch in front of an estimated 5,000 people.
Pastor Michael W. Waters, who led the dedication, said it was crucial to remember Brooks' lynching in light of controversy surrounding the teaching of America's racial history, banned books and persisting racial injustice.
"By memorializing the horrific lynching of Allen Brooks, may we never forget the tragedies that arise from blind rage," Waters said. "May each of us renew our commitment to remembering and teaching the truth about our history."
Currently, a plaque inside the courthouse — now known as the Old Red Museum at 600 Commerce St. — is displayed next to the window where the attack first occurred.
This is the second historical marker in Dallas dedicated to Brooks' murder. The first marker was placed at the corner of Main and Akard streets in 2021.
According to the new plaque, five white men and six Black men were lynched in Dallas County between 1853 and 1920. Last week, the Dallas County Justice Initiative and other racial justice advocates honored the lives of Patrick Jennings, Cato Miller and Samuel Smith, who were lynched at the Trinity River in 1860.
Thursday's ceremony drew the support of dozens of Dallas activists, community members and leaders including Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and District 3 County Commissioner John Wiley Price, who thanks the Justice Initiative for spearheading the effort to remember brooks and others.
"It's one thing to put a black hash marker on that window," Price said. "It's another thing for the rest of the public to be able to see."
Also in attendance was Nkeya Brooks, Allen Brooks' fourth-great-granddaughter. She said she learned she was related to Allen Brooks when she worked on a family tree project in fourth grade.
Now 40 years old, Nkeya Brooks said she was emotional yet grateful to see the community recognize her great-grandfather's life.
"Because I'm a descendant of him it hurts still, even though I never met him," Brooks said. "I guess it's a feeling that you have, is being related to someone that died horrifically."
But Ed Gray, the Justice Initiative's leader, said the legacy of Dallas' role in the Jim Crow Era doesn't end with people like Nkeya Brooks.
"We cannot truly reconcile if we don't recognize the lynching sites and realize that the people that were there at the lynching sites, some of their descendants are here as well," Gray said. "Some of their descendants are running this city. Some of their descendants are running this county."
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