A Jim Crow-era move against the only Democrat, and the only Black person elected in Ellis County, TX seemed designed to send a signal and to humiliate Curtis Polk Jr., elected Constable in Precinct 3. The news was broken on Facebook by Smash Da Topic News, and amplified on Twitter by Jana Lynne Sanchez - a fellow politician and friend of Polk's.
Ellis County TX has moved the only elected Democrat and the only African American, Constable Curtis Polk Jr. to a basement office with the word “Negroes” painted outside pic.twitter.com/BN1q7FUt9w
— Jana Lynne Sanchez (@janasanchez) November 17, 2020
According to Constable Polk, a number of offices were moved to accommodate the county's Treasurer's office, yet he is the only one who ended up without a private office of his own. It just happened to be in the basement of the historic courthouse, where just outside his shared office the word "Negroes" is painted, with a historical marker beneath it explaining the alleged context.
The Commissioners' Court voted on Nov 10 to move only Curtis. All the other white, Republican Constables were left in private offices. Oh and before Curtis was elected '18, the Court had the previous Constable, who was legally elected, thrown out https://t.co/WznGXePUBy https://t.co/YsJix23Gqv
— Jana Lynne Sanchez (@janasanchez) November 17, 2020
Demands for explanations and justice grew louder, and the actions of Judge Todd Little became the focus of sharp and deserved criticism — not only for putting Constable Polk in the basement, but for attempting to justify keeping the word "Negroes" painted on the wall, there. His reasoning, such as it is: “The plaque presented with this historical marker challenges us to continue to learn from our past."
The only thing Judge Little has learned from "our past" is that America is built on white supremacy and oppression of Black people, and if he feels like putting a Black Democrat in the basement, he'll do as he damn pleases. He's learned that he can piss in our faces and tell us it's raining, like so:
Little said the decision to relocate Polk's office was based on “logic and the availability of space, not on malice or any other subjective information.”
Right. Sure, Todd. The thing is, more and more of us know the difference between rainwater and piss now. And fewer of us are willing to stand by while you treat the world like your toilet.
Eventually, after enough unwanted attention about this, Judge Little gave Constable Polk was a private office on the second floor of the courthouse. The video below was staged after the agreement was reached. Judge Little speaks to the constable's family, and tries to deliver the same line of bull about there being nothing at all personal or racial about the decision to place Constable Polk in the basement next to a Jim Crow-era sign. Judge Little actually says, "The goal here was never to offend Curtis or his people." His people, got that?
The sign is now covered up, and the Ellis County Historical Commission will determine the fate of the sign. But Judge Little still lays the groundwork in the video below for his arguments to leave it in place. "If we do erase that, or if we eliminate that, what's it tell our fifth-grade kids who never went through this process of segregation?" Um...you take them to the museum where the sign can be viewed, and the context explained to them there. You don't leave it in a FUNCTIONING COUNTY COURTHOUSE, you racist closet klansman.
Ellis County and Precinct 3 Constable Curtis Polk Jr. have resolved a dispute over Polk's office being moved to the basement of the Historic Courthouse. Polk will now have an office on the second floor, just off of the Commissioners' Courtroom. https://t.co/IRB73WFkT1
— WaxahachieDailyLight (@WaxahachieNews) November 18, 2020
Little claims, however, that he doesn't want to cause them pain. "When you feel people hurting, eventually, it makes you hurt," he says. He's very empathetic, see.
If he was truly empathetic, he would never have allowed Constable Polk to be treated with such blatant disrespect and placed him in such an emotionally hostile professional situation. And if he was truly empathetic, he would be absolutely mortified, ashamed, thoroughly apologetic, and admit it was his white privilege that made him blind to the trauma he was inflicting on a duly elected constable, and he would set an example for other white folks by making all of that clear.
At least, though, Constable Polk spoke up, got support, his voice was amplified, and he ended up with — as it turns out — one of Judge LIttle's offices.
Ms. Sanchez also let us know on Twitter that no only was Constable Polk able to get Judge Little to agree to reverse his appalling move, and give Polk a proper private office, he convinced Little to begin the process to get a Confederate monument removed, as well. Bravo, and all the applause for Constable Polk. Gratitude for standing up for yourself and everyone in the community of Ellis, Texas.
Good story. Would just like to add - Curtis went to bat not just for himself. He got Little to remove the sign and to agree to begin the process of removing the Confederate statue - which Little and his all white Republican court opposed. We need to hold Little’s feet to the fire
— Jana Lynne Sanchez (@janasanchez) November 20, 2020