Editorials

Ornette remembered at plaza

Jazz legend Ornette Coleman at his loft in New York, Feb. 3, 2010. He died Thursday, June 11, 2015, at age 85.
Jazz legend Ornette Coleman at his loft in New York, Feb. 3, 2010. He died Thursday, June 11, 2015, at age 85. AP

When fans come searching in Fort Worth for the spirit of country songwriter Townes Van Zandt, they wind up at his grave in Dido Cemetery.

But when jazz lovers want to learn about the late Ornette Coleman, “King Curtis” Ousley or Dewey Redman, they can visit memorial markers on Evans Plaza.

In a week when black Texans celebrate 150 years of freedom, it’s also a good time to revisit the treasure trove of African-American history at the plaza southeast of downtown.

Fort Worth’s music history goes mostly uncelebrated elsewhere, except in the street name of Van Cliburn Way, a few exhibits at the Stockyards Museum or the restaurant-wall photos of John Denver, Betty Buckley or Kelly Clarkson.

But on Evans Plaza, Coleman, Ousley and Redman are remembered alongside local African-American civic leaders and builders such as educators Hazel Harvey Peace and I.M. Terrell, who went on to become a university president and hospital administrator.

The 11-year-old plaza skirts a library and fire station, with stores and restaurants nearby.

Southeast Fort Worth has done a better job of honoring its musical legacy than the rest of the city.

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