HOUSTON – A racist flyer has been removed from a tree at a park in the Sunnyside neighborhood but it’s still nailed in the memories of the couple that found it.
The questions they and many others have is how did it get there and what’s going to be done to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Living in the historically Black neighborhood on Houston’s southside, Lante and Nakiba Phillips visit Sunnyside park almost daily.
“We come and do like four laps around the park,” Lante said.
But yesterday, their morning walk was like none other.
“I looked over at this tree, and I saw [the word] negroes,” he said.
The flyer advertised the sale of negroes, one buck and two wenches to be exact, tack nailed at the top and bottom to a tree.
“I was floored, actually. I did see that it was dated 1855. Someone definitely did their history,” Nakiba said.
The couple notified a park worker, and the flyer was taken down, but the concern is still there for residents and community leaders.
“We want them to know that those days been over, and this not no plantation. This is our home. This is our community. That’s how we treat it, and that’s how they’re gonna treat it,” said Travis McGee, who is a civic leader with Sunnyside Garden/Bayou.
“Back in April this year, we had a contractor come out and inspected the whole park area to put up surveillance cameras and give city councilmembers the price and stuff,” said Tracy Stephens, who is the president of the Sunnyside Civic Club.
KPRC 2′s Deven Clarke sat down with District D Councilmember Carolyn Evans-Shabazz.
“Certainly, it’s appalling to me,” she said.
She says there are 382 parks in the city, and adding cameras isn’t as easy as it may sound.
“It’s just not in the budget, because it’s not just installing cameras, you have to maintain them, and then they have to be monitored,” she added.
People in the community hope something can be done, fast.
“Oh my God, will the tree be on fire tomorrow? Like what’s next?” Nakiba asked.
Shabazz says she’s asking HPD to ramp up patrols in the area as well as meeting with other leaders to see what more can be done.
Houston police say the Criminal Intelligence Division is investigating to try to find out who put the flyer up and whether a hate crime was committed.
They also want anyone with information to give them a call.