Fort Worth, TX

Former KKK headquarters near Dallas is being converted into an arts center by non-profit volunteers

Jalyn Smoot
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FORT WORTH, Texas - An abandoned, Texas-based KKK headquarters is being converted into an arts center after being purchased by a non-profit coalition.

The building, now owned by Transform 1012 N. Main St, will be named after Fred Rouse, the first lynching victim in Dallas.

Rouse, a Black butcher, was attacked by White Union workers with iron bars after accusing him of betraying their strike. After beating and dragging Rouse from the hospital where he was receiving treatment, the white mob lynched him in front of everyone.

"Fort Worth has a history of racism and racial violence that in the words of the very first person who I told about the project, who is a member of one of the founding families of Fort Worth, it has never dealt with, it has never reckoned with. So this building becomes an opportunity,” said Daniel Banks, board chair of Transform 1012 and co-founder of the arts and service group DNAWORKS, which is based in the city.

Klavern 101, the former Fort Worth-based KKK headquarters, will now be named the Fred Rouse Center for Arts and Community Healing.

The aging building was one of the largest reminders of a very racist, not-so-distant time in Texas. Renovating and repurposing it is a welcome sight to see, especially with the building name being dedicated to the late Rouse.

Located about a mile northwest of downtown Fort Worth, the building boasts a footprint of about 20,000-square-foot.

Once completed, the Fred Rouse Center for Arts and Community Healing will host art exhibitions, shows, and displays.

The plan to remodel the building started when Adam W. McKinney began researching the Rouse murder.

McKinney, a dance instructor and classically trained ballet dancer, learned about the hate group’s former headquarters in Fort Worth and discovered that it was still standing.

McKinney and his partner Daniel Banks, who co-founded the DNAWORKS arts and service organization, saw an opportunity to breathe new life into a building that once fueled so much hate.

We intuitively understood the power of transforming a monument to hate and violence into a space for reparative justice,” Banks told Hyperallergic.
I envision a crossroads where all of Fort Worth can gather, where every cultural group feels a sense of belonging, of being seen, represented, and listened to,” Banks says. “This is an opportunity for healing on a massive scale.”

The building likely won't open for another couple of years, but it is encouraging to see that change is underway.

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Dallas-based reporter with a focus on business, major events, politics, music, and sports

Dallas, TX

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