Sherman continues work on memorial for 1930 riot, black business district


Sherman is considering options for commemorating the destruction of the city's Black business district in the Sherman Riot of 1930.

As prolonged efforts to get a historic marker detailing the Sherman riot of 1930 continue on the county level, Sherman has quietly been working on its own efforts to recognize the events.

Mayor David Plyler said last week that the city hopes to have a plan to memorialize one aspect of the events that left a man dead, the Grayson County Courthouse destroyed and Black-owned businesses burned to the ground.

“Sherman was unique in that we had a thriving Black business community, which was very unusual at the time,” Plyler said. “We are working on an effort to remember those businesses and remember those that were impacted by that loss in another location.”

The efforts by Sherman are part of a greater effort to have the lynching of George Hughes — a Black farmhand who was killed during his trial for an alleged sexual assault — and the following riots recognized publicly through historic markers and other displays. For months, organizers have pushed for the placement of a marker on the grounds of the Grayson County Courthouse, but county commissioners only recently responded by creating a committee to propose a recommendation.

“What we are proposing is to form a citizen’s group to look into a historical marker, a location, and how we can do it respectfully, and that is historically accurate to depict the events of 1930 that happened here in the city of Sherman,” Plyler said in late September.

Efforts are being made to recognize George Hughes, right, who was killed and lynched in the Sherman riot of 1930.

The Grayson County Commissioners Court is expected to receive a recommendation on a marker placement Tuesday morning as a part of its weekly meeting.

Plyler said the efforts on the county level are separate and independent of the city’s efforts to recognize the events, with a focus on the destruction of Black businesses.

Hughes was on trial for allegedly sexually assaulting his employer’s wife during a dispute over wages owed in 1930 when a mob of protesters attempted to gain access to the courtroom. The courthouse itself was set on fire and burned to the ground with Hughes still inside.


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