Marker to commemorate Fort Bend voting rights decision
In 1953, opposing parties of Fort Bend County residents squared off before the U.S. Supreme court in Washington D.C. to decide a voting rights issue.
By ruling in favor of the plaintiffs, justices ended six decades of what was found to be a discriminatory practice by the Jay Bird Democratic Association.
On Saturday, Aug. 13, a historical marker commemorating that landmark decision and the events leading up to it will be dedicated in Kendleton.
A site next to the U.S. Post Office on Willie Melton Boulevard has been donated for the site of the marker. However, due to the anticipated August heat, the dedication program and reception will be held north of town at the Powell Point School gymnasium on FM 2919. The event, open to the public and free of charge, begins at 10 a.m.
The Texas Historical Commission awarded the oversized marker to the county in recognition of this historic series of events comprising an “under-told story.” The marker text capsules the story of black Fort Bend County citizens who battled to end the Jay Bird group’s control of the local Democrat Party political process and the exclusion of eligible black residents.
The high court’s decision had a far-reaching impact on similar practices across the land.
The research paper submitted to the THC was written by Clint Drake, a member of the Fort Bend County Historical Commission.
Drake credited the late Rosenberg university professor and historian Pauline Yelderman for assembling much of the primary source material in her book The Jay Birds of Fort Bend County. Drake also did extensive research on his own.
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