Arts Features Social Justice/Advocacy

FW nonprofit colab to turn Klan building into reparative justice project

Written by Mindia Whittier

Supporters plan to transform the building into a space of truth, reconciliation, and liberation.

Transform 1012 N. Main Street (T1012) announces the purchase of the former Ku Klux Klan Klavern No. 101 Auditorium in Fort Worth. The acquisition is a major milestone in the movement toward transforming the building that was once a monument to hate and violence as a Klan auditorium, into The Fred Rouse Center for Arts and Community Healing.

T1012 is a Texas-based, nonprofit coalition of local arts, grassroots, and service organizations, as well as pro bono partners and individuals.

The purchase of the building was made possible by a grant from the Rainwater Charitable Foundation. Project funders also include: Atmos Energy as part of its Fueling Safe and Thriving Communities initiative, the Ford Foundation, MASS Design Group, The National Endowment for the Arts and Tecovas Foundation.

Fundraising was mobilized by the efforts of the T1012 Founding Board, a pluri-cultural, shared leadership collective of eight local organizations:
DNAWORKS
LGBTQ SAVES
Opal Lee Foundation
SOL Ballet Folklórico
Tarrant County Coalition for Peace and Justice
The Welman Project
Window to Your World
The 1012 Youth Council

When the Ku Klux Klan auditorium opened in 1924, Fort Worth had one of the largest KKK memberships in the United States and the building was the KKK’s headquarters in Texas. The building was designed and located to intimidate Northside Black, Hispanic, and immigrant residents returning home from the city center.

As the Fred Rouse Center for Arts and Community Healing, the facility will honor the life and memory of Mr. Fred Rouse, a Black butcher who was lynched by a White mob in Fort Worth in 1921. With this reparative justice project, T1012 seeks to return resources to the communities that were targeted for marginalization and violence by the KKK.

Adaptive reuse plans include transforming the space into a vibrant cultural hub with: a state-of-the-art performance space; arts training and programming; services for underserved and LGBTQ+ youth; exhibit spaces dedicated to social justice and civil rights; a makerspace and tool library for local DIY classes; meeting spaces forracial equity and leadership workshops and community events; an outdoor urban agriculture and artisan marketplace; and affordable live/work spaces for artists- and entrepreneurs-in-residence.

T1012 is a member of The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, a global network of historic sites, museums, and memorials dedicated to promoting and protecting human rights in different regions of the world. Additional partners include J.L. Powers & Associates, MASS Design Group, The Projects Group, Saira Jasmine Concepts, SpawGlass, and United Way of Tarrant County.

Founding members of the T1012 board include Daniel Banks (DNAWORKS), Vanessa Barker (The Welman Project), Freddy Cantú (SOL Ballet Folklórico), Ayesha Ganguly (Window to Your World), Sharon Herrera (LGBTQ SAVES), Jacora Johnson (1012 Youth Council), Dr. Opal Lee (Dr. Opal Lee’s Foundation), Adam McKinney (Tarrant County Coalition for Peace and Justice), Román Ramírez (SOL Ballet Folklórico), and Taylor Willis (The Welman Project).

In October 2021, T1012 received Urban Land Institute of Dallas-Fort Worth’s 2021 Next Big Idea Award, recognizing innovative ideas that can positively impact the region’s quality of life.

About the author

Mindia Whittier