The Ellis County African American Hall of Fame will dedicate the 8/47 Memorial in Freedman’s Park at 400 E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. in Waxahachie on Saturday, Feb. 29 at 4 p.m.
Some 19 men were killed in a tragic accident on U.S. Highway 77, 73 years ago. We are asking the entire Ellis County to join us on this occasion to show the victims are not forgotten.
The monument will honor the 19 lives lost when a 1946 Chevrolet truck collided head-on with a fuel truck — 18 of the men were from Waxahachie, and the driver resided in Fort Worth.
The memorial is built on a slab across from the Ellis County African American Hall of Fame, which is the former KOP Hall and later the Prince Hall Masonic Lodge Hall, located at the corner of Martin Luther King, Jr Blvd. (formally East Main) and Wyatt Street.
CEO and President of the Ellis County African American Hall of Fame Dr. Jamal Rasheed explains the significance of placing the 8/47 Memorial across from the museum. The exposed slab once housed the Priscilla Wallace Hospital for African Americans.
Rasheed shared that the hospital acted more as a clinic, and the overflow of patients would be seen in the second story of the Masonic Lodge, now the Ellis County African American Hall of Fame. The bottom floor was the mortuary.
The monument would be built on top of the 12-by-24 slab. The hands on the memorial will represent the 19 victims reaching up to heaven. Round stools line a sidewalk that will lead up to the monument with each victim’s name engraved.
The 19 that were reported dead included Andrew Jackson Arrington Jr., John Benson, Carmen Blunt, J.B. York, Frank Pittman, Herman Frasier, Jack T. Montgomery, Ludie Henry Scroggins, Charles Greenwood, Antoine (Pegleg) Turner, Welton Mayes, Johnnie B. Simpson, Morris Charles Robertson (driver), George Lindsay Taylor, Robert Charlie Dixon, Louis (Shorty) Huckleby, Cardell Grigsby, Isom Green and the driver of the tanker, Marvin L. Wallace of Fort Worth.
The youngest boy on the truck was Mayes, who was 16 years old. Those who survived included William Tulsa Jackson, Alfonso Brewer, T.J. Kelly and Sam Williams. Two people were not accounted for.
An exhibit in the Ellis County African American Hall of Fame displays original photographs of the 1947 accident previously printed in the Daily Light. People related to the victims also presented photos to Rasheed to showcase as well.
When the Waxahachie Parks Board approved the project in July 2018 and donated the space, Rasheed shared to members that the faiths of the victims were researched and that all attended three churches in town that included Joshua Chapel AME Church, New Mt. Zion — now called Greater New Mt. Zion — Samaria Missionary Baptist Church.
Eighteen of the bodies are buried in the Prince Hall Fraternal Cemetery of Waxahachie — five of them with grave markings.
Rasheed is requesting that relatives of the victims with pictures submit them to the Hall of fame.
The project funding was provided by City of Waxahachie, the Ellis County African American Hall of Fame, Saul Smith of South Star Reconditioning Co. and the Dallas Texas Motorcyclist of Brotherhood M/C.
For more information, contact Dr. Jamal R.A. Rasheed at 469-337-7989 or email email@example.com.