Floor Fact – Panorama Structure Journal


With a brand new lynching memorial in Fort Price, DesignJones continues to create landscapes of racial reconciliation.

By James Russell

Picture courtesy DesignJones LLC.

Fred Rouse was hanged from a hackberry tree north of downtown Fort Price, Texas, on December 11, 1921. Not till native organizers and activists dug into his historical past did Rouse’s personal grandson, Fred Rouse III, study concerning the lynching. A century later, the homicide was lastly acknowledged with a marker telling of the Black man’s loss of life by the hands of a white mob. Now, a vacant lot close to the lynching website is about to grow to be a memorial park designed by DesignJones LLC for the Tarrant County Coalition for Peace and Justice (TCCPJ), cofounded by Rouse to memorialize his grandfather’s life.

Rouse’s violent loss of life and its legacy are central to the design, which takes the customer on an emotional and bodily journey, winding by way of a sequence of out of doors areas—amongst them the Harrowing Backyard and the Launch Backyard—and three pairs of Cor-Ten metal panels. These panels, which advanced over time, are minimize with silhouettes of the lynching tree, or “loss of life tree,” because the native newspaper referred to as it on the time, which nonetheless stands simply south of the memorial website.

As a counterpoint to the weighty topic, the Launch Backyard gives an area away from the principle memorial wall to replicate on Rouse’s life and his violent homicide. Additionally proposed for the positioning is a pillar designated for Tarrant County from the Nationwide Memorial for Peace and Justice in Birmingham, Alabama, which has 805 metal pillars representing each county the place a lynching occurred. (The Birmingham museum produced two units of pillars: one to stay on-site and one other slated for every county.)

Conversations with residents and a desire to imbue the park with an ethic of environmental resilience informed the design.
Conversations with residents and a need to imbue the park with an ethic of environmental resilience knowledgeable the design. Photograph by DesignJones LLC.

The design crew additionally needed to develop an area intertwining Black resilience and sustainability. “Resiliency, each social-cultural and environmental, is essential to Black historical past and present life,” says Diane Jones Allen, FASLA, of DesignJones. “Folks of African descent practiced environmental resiliency inside the world to which they have been transplanted, bringing environmental and ecological information from Africa and studying and adapting new methods within the colonial world. This included the constructing of levees and drainage programs that protected the colonies from storms and the overtopping of rivers.”

The memorial makes use of stormwater administration methods and native vegetation to replicate these rules of resilience symbolically. The positioning, at present a barren lot with patches of useless grass and weeds crawling up two utility poles, is designed as an city forest with a floor cowl of native grasses of various heights and sizes, comparable to Lindheimer’s muhly, little bluestem, and blue grama. “Principally, it’s plenty of colours, with a seriousness across the memorial adopted by these bursts of feelings,” says Ángeles Margarida, a panorama designer with DesignJones.

Visitors to the park will have opportunities to reflect on Rouse’s life while surrounded by subtle features referencing African American resilience.DesignJones LLC
Guests to the park can have alternatives to replicate on Rouse’s life whereas surrounded by refined options referencing African American resilience. Picture by DesignJones LLC.

The grade regularly sinks towards the park’s heart, the place rain gardens take in after which launch stormwater. “The soil cells maintain and handle vegetation, cleanse the water, and the overflow goes again into the town’s water system,” Jones Allen says, a cost-efficient, water-adaptive transfer that additionally nods to Black resilience.

Corrin Breeding, a panorama designer and vp of the TCCPJ board, says the design is “breaking boundaries. Lynching is a horrible a part of historical past. The query is, how do you cope with it? How do you are taking an space the place you rework and replicate? By means of design, we will begin the therapeutic course of.”