Denton Group Pushes for Memorial to Lynching Victims

Efforts are underway in Denton to bring a memorial for victims of lynchings to the city's square. An incident nearly 100 years ago in Pilot Point is motivation for the grassroots movement.

Linnie McAdams wants a discussion of things seldom talked about.

"Actually, what I would really like is a conversation," said McAdams, a former Denton City Council member. "I'm really tired of people not understanding what was done and what we suffered."

At 81, the Dallas native and longtime Denton resident – who is African-American – has seen some things.

"People don't know our story, and what makes us tick," she said. "It's a difficult story to talk about."

One story McAdams hopes to tell doesn't have a lot of detail. In 1922, two black men suspected of stealing horses were lynched in Pilot Point. The men were never named in newspaper coverage of the day. In Alabama, a national memorial to victims of lynchings includes the date of the Pilot Point killings. Equal Justice Initiative, which oversees the memorial, wants to send a replica of the two beams containing the dates of the lynchings to Denton County.

"It happened," said McAdams. "It is true history. We need to put it out there and acknowledge it."

McAdams is part of Denton County Community Remembrance Project, a local effort to build a memorial in Denton. She would like to see it placed at the Denton County courthouse on the square -- where there's already another reminder of the past; a monument to Confederate soldiers.

"This is not meant to be an in your face kind of thing," she said. "We really would like to start a conversation."

Currently, there is no timetable for the lynching memorial. The group hoping to bring it to Denton met last week, and plans to meet again in August.

McAdams is disturbed by those who'd rather forget the past. She believes addressing it is the only path to a better future.

"We do need to talk about it, so we can better understand each other," she said."That's what I hope this will do."

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