COLLEGE OF INDUSTRIAL ARTS STUDENTS
This artwork features three students, in the early 1900s, from the all-female College of Industrial Arts in Denton Texas. Located on the site of what is now University of North Texas, the College played a pivotal role in the traumatic forced relocation of Quakertown, Denton's once-thriving African American community.
As Denton’s white citizens lobbied the Texas state government to recognize the school as a full-fledged liberal arts college, they devised a plan to replace Quakertown with a City Park and rid Denton of the “menace of the negro quarters in close proximity to the college and thereby remove the danger…” Quakertown's Fred Douglass school “mysteriously” burned the night it was to open, and the City voted to buy out the nearly 60 black family properties. African American families lobbied against the move, but were overruled and many asserted they did not receive fair value. Many Quakertown residents relocated to what became known as Solomon Hill in southeast Denton.
Although Denton and the College of Industrial Arts benefitted from the creation of the park, the damage to the black community was long-lasting. Quakertown lost leadership with the departure of its business owners, and families were dispersed, as Denton's African American community found itself disrupted by white society.