In honor of Black History Month, the process of gaining recognizing through the Texas Historical Commission honoring the significance of Historical Colored Town in Carthage was recently begun.

The marker will recognize the significance of the historical colored town that was a small majority of African American business and social section of Carthage and Panola County Texas that existed between 1940 and 1965 on East Panola Blvd to North Live Oak St. is being pursued.

Omowali Lumumba and Jared Blackshire had a meeting with Elizabeth Hodges, the chairman of the Panola County Historical Committee and three volunteers, Ruth Hunt, Marsha Ivey and Carl Hedges, of the Panola County Historical and Genealogical Association within the Old Panola County Jail Museum in Carthage on Tuesday, Feb. 9.

The purpose of the meeting was to present actual historical documentation to validate the move to have the colored town declared and listed as historical, and share the untold story about the area.

After presenting the documents to Elizabeth Hodges, she agreed to approve the request to send the documents to the Texas Historical Commission. Lumumba said Hodges helped tremendously by going online and pulling up the necessary documents (Texas Historical Commission, untold marker application request).

Hodges helped the group complete and accurately fill the Texas State Documents out and attached the supplemental historical pictures and documents to accompany the Texas State documents. Lumumba said they will now have to scan all the documents and pictures and submit them to the Texas Historical Commission.

After the documents have been sent in, the Texas Historical Commission will furnish and place the historical marker with the current land owner's blessings. The owner, Sylva J. Cotton, approved and signed the consent forms that same day.

Lumumba currently has a billboard placed at the site. He said it is "dedicated in remembrance of Historical Colored Town, a small black business section that operated only on one side (the north side) of E. Panola Blvd. to N. Live Oak St. that existed from approximately 1940 to 1965. It was said by many black people in my research that Colored Town died out after (and because of) the Civil Rights movement - mainly because when black people were then allowed to walk in the front doors and openly patronize white businesses, they no longer desired to support or develop their own businesses."

Lumumba has researched three African American communities in Panola County and visibly documented each by way of 4x8 feet billboards as historical African American land sites including the historical Colored Town, historical Cook Quarters on Cook Street and MLK Blvd., and the historical Shady Grove Gary Tap Community.

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