DALLAS — In the middle of the 20th century, it was not unusual to see signs of segregation. A water fountain in the Dallas County Records Building was clearly marked — “Whites Only.”
After the civil rights movement, the sign was covered for decades, almost forgotten.
“One day in 2003, the metal plate just fell off. What was revealed was this ghostly trace that said ‘Whites Only,'” artist Lauren Woods said.
Reading the words brought back memories.
“I think about my own family, my ancestors, who had to look at this disgusting sign and deal with the culture that existed during this time period, that didn’t allow them to do something just as simple as taking a drink from a fountain,” Woods said.
She chose to turn that horrible reminder of segregation into a multimedia monument. Now, if you want a drink of water, you’ll have to wait 15 seconds.
“When you come to get a drink of water, instead of water coming on, you’ll get a video projection in this area after video plays then the water will come on,” Woods said. “It’s to commemorate the people who fought to get these type of Jim Crow signs down and change the United States.”
Half a century later, this piece of civil rights history is back in the spotlight for everyone to see and experience. It’s a fountain of knowledge that provides understanding and acceptance to all who see it.