Black Texas constable gets office near offensive sign
The only Black candidate elected to office this year in Ellis County in northern Texas, Constable Curtis Polk, Jr., is now also the only one without a private office. And an offensive sign near where he now sits is spurring lots of controversy, reports CBS Dallas.
He lost his office in a reshuffling the county started this month to make space for a new courtroom.
"I felt pretty upset," he admits, "because every other elected official in this county has their own private office."
Polk wound up in the basement, sharing an office with two sheriff's deputies who guard the courthouse. His filling cabinet sits in an open stairwell.
"I have documents that don't need to be accessible to the public," he said.
But what's grabbed the most attention about Polk's new location is something next to his office door.
Over an archway, the word "negroes" appears in paint that's chipped away over time. It marks the spot of a public water fountain Black residents were restricted to using.
Underneath, a plaque reads, "Have We Learned From History?"
"I understand that it was part of the history of this courthouse, but I just feel it's another disgrace for me to have to see it daily," said Polk.
After a popular blogger, Smash Da Topic Breaking News, began posting about Polk's new office assignment, calling it mistreatment, Ellis County Judge Todd Little responded.
In a video recorded under the arch, Judge Little called the recent criticism "intentional and coordinated."
"I would suggest the signage was kept so the evil of requiring people of another color to drink at another water fountain would never happen again," Judge Little said. "I am saddened Constable Polk was hurt by this office relocation process. That was not the intent."
On Tuesday afternoon,it appeared someone had tried to cross out the word "negroes" with spray paint.
Judge Little said the county will begin looking to acquire new office space.
Constable Polk said he just plans to keep working.