Historical marker to commemorate 1930 Sherman Riot
SHERMAN, Texas (KTEN) — The Texas Historical Commission has now formally approved plans to erect a State of Texas Historical Marker on the grounds of the Grayson County Courthouse to commemorate the 1930 Sherman Riot.
It will become the county's 40th landmark, and is part of an effort by the commission to recognize "undertold" events in the state's history.
"We needed three approvals," said Melissa Thiel, who helped lead the campaign to bring attention to this little-known part of the county's timeline. "The first one came from Grayson County Historical Commission. The second one came from the Grayson County Judge and Commissioners, and that took a long time. That was a six-month battle to get the approval to place the marker at the courthouse, and once we got that approval, we were waiting for the Texas Historical Commission to approve the topic."
Ninety-two years ago, Sherman's Black business district on Mulberry Street and the county courthouse were set ablaze by white rioters after an African-American farm worker named George Hughes was accused of raping his employer's wife.
Hughes was locked in a vault in the burning courthouse, where he died. But the rioters removed his body from the vault, dragged the corpse behind a car to Mulberry Street, where he was then left hanging from a tree.
"Great-grandparents had to flee in the middle of the night, and yes, we had to go to a different county," said community activist Yolanda Boyd. "As a result of that, we lost much of our history here."
Three generations later, Boyd is finally back home.
"I'm certainly an example that with time, and forgiveness, and reconciliation, I think that we will thrive," she said, encouraging others to join her. "Those that are still waiting in the shadows ... it's okay; it's okay to come back home. Let's embrace our hometown and our community, and let's go forth together."
Although the 1930 Sherman Riot Historical Marker has now been approved, there's still work to be done.
"The Texas Historical Commission will come with their proposed inscription to the County Historical Commission," said Kurt Cichowski, chairperson for the historical marker campaign. "The County Historical Commission will then bring all applicants together, and then we will go over the proposed inscription."
Following final approval, the historical committee hopes to host an unveiling ceremony at the Grayson County Courthouse on May 9, the anniversary of the 1930 Sherman Riot.