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Outrage Over Ellis County's Only Black Elected Official Assigned Office Near Decades-Old Derogatory Sign

UPDATE: Ellis County Constable Gets New Office Space Away From Offensive Sign

WAXAHACHIE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - The only Black candidate elected to office this year in Ellis County, Constable Curtis Polk, Jr, is now also the only one without a private office.

To make space for a new courtroom, the county this month began re-shuffled offices.

The plan they chose forced Constable Polk, Jr out of his.

Ellis County Constable Curtis Polk, Jr.
Ellis County Constable Curtis Polk, Jr.(CBS 11)

"I felt pretty upset," he admits, "because every other elected official in this county has their own private office.

He ended 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, worrying about their security.

What's grabbed the most attention, though, about Polk's new location is what is written next to his office door.

Over an archway, the word "negroes" appears in paint that's chipped away over time.

Sign and plaque in Ellis County Historic Courthouse
Sign and plaque in Ellis County Historic Courthouse (Curtis Polk, Jr.)

It marks the spot of a public water fountain Black residents were restricted to using.

Underneath it, 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 vlogger, 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."

Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 17, it appeared someone had tried to cover the 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.

"I have a duty to fulfill," he said.


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