People from all walks of Fort Worth life gathered Saturday to bless the former Ku Klux Klan building from its past horrors into a new age of healing.
The nonprofit organization Transform 1012 N. Main St. held a blessing ceremony for the transformation of the KKK building into the Fred Rouse Center for Arts and Community Healing, with a goal of bringing the community together. More than 50 people attended.
Carlos Gonzalez-Jaime, executive director of Transform 1012, says the project is about bringing people of any mindset, background, religion or race together. The ceremony was intended to bring blessings to guide the development of a center that will serve the community.
“The idea of preserving the shell of the building is to remember that something awful happened here but that we can do something to make a better world not only a better city, a better Fort Worth, or a better state of Texas, but a better country in a better world,” Gonzalez-Jaime said. “So the idea is learning from the past, so that’s why we decided to keep the building and then have experiences that help us heal and look for a better future.”
The building is part of a project by Transform 1012 to develop the former meeting hall for Fort Worth’s KKK branch at 1012 N. Main St. into a center for community healing. The building is named after Fred Rouse, a Black man who was lynched in Fort Worth in 1921.
The ceremony included a blessing circle for spiritual leaders of all religions and spiritual beliefs to come together to give their grace and guidance. This included religious leaders from Christianity, Catholicism, Greek Orthodox, Buddhism, Judaism, and Islam.
The center will be a cultural hub that will include the SOL Ballet Folklórico, a youth dance and leadership training program, and DNAWORKS, an arts and service nonprofit organization.
The building will also include exhibition galleries about the history of the building and the history of race relations in the city. There will be visiting artists to produce exhibitions on social justice and reparative justice, workshops on leadership for underrepresented communities, and a tool library for artists to buy and rent for their projects.
One of the attendees for the ceremony was the grandson of Fred Rouse, Fred Rouse III, who was thankful to see so many people honoring his grandfather’s legacy.
“My grandfather had the ultimate sacrifice, because he was murdered by the very same people to occupy this building. They occupied this building for hatred, they brought fear to the community,” Rouse III said. “So we’re honoring my grandfather ... And like I said, he made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us, and if it wasn’t for his sacrifice, none of us would be right here today.”
Rouse III is also the president of the Tarrant County Coalition for Peace and Justice, which will be create a Fred Rouse memorial site and marker. This will be with the help of the Equal Justice Initiative’s Community Remembrance Project, which works with communities to memorialize documented victims of racial violence and to foster meaningful dialogue about race and justice.
Construction of the memorial site will start in February, and the projected start of the construction for the healing center will be in the middle of 2024, with the opening in to happen late 2025.