SLOCUM, Texas (KLTV) - Today is the 110th anniversary of the Slocum Massacre. This event took place just southeast of Palestine in Slocum, Texas. A historical marker stands tall to memorialize the victims and this is where descendants of victims and survivors of the Slocum Massacre have gathered every year since 1975 to pay their respects and to share the history of their ancestors.
Constance Hollie-Jawaid is a direct descendant of Jack Hollie, a primary landowner in 1910 Slocum. She says “my grandfather shared stories of the massacre with me. My uncles, my father, sisters’ history that’s been in our family since 1910. We pass it on.” She was raised knowing both sides of the history of what happened on that grim day. The official record states mobs of armed white residents took the lives of 8-22 African-Americans, while research suggests the actual amount tips well over one hundred.
“There are hundreds of people who are buried in mass graves here in Slocum, not just our family members but there were many other families that were killed during the massacre and they’re buried in mass graves. We’re trying and have been trying to recover our loved ones and reunite them with their families for a proper funeral,” says Hollie-Jawaid.
Every year they’ve performed a ceremony of libations for their ancestors and they visit Ioni creek, the place where members of their family were killed and left.
Clara Hollie-Smith, the great-great-granddaughter of Jack Hollie and great-niece of Alex Hollie spoke at the creek looking for answers, “was he calling out to individuals? Was he saying God forgive me? What were his last words? I mean, it’s just, it’s just hard.”
Hollie-Jawaid says she knows Jacke Hollie and the rest of their ancestors are watching over them and she’s sure they’re proud, “I think he would say thank you for not forgetting and thank you for continuing the fight.” She continues saying “in America, there is a rally call to never forget, and we will never forget. So that’s what we’re doing - you remember the Alamo, you remember 9/11, we remember Slocum.”
Hollie-Jawaid says putting up the historical marker was a small step toward the justice they’re aiming for. She says they’re currently working to recover those buried in the mass graves so those families can have a proper funeral, and to reclaim the land that was taken after the massacre.