The Southern Live Oak trees that surround the Caddo Parish courthouse on both Milam Street and Texas Street in the city of Shreveport, Louisiana have a history that is full of atrocities that dominated not just the city, or the state, but the country as a whole. The trees, donated by Judge Thomas Fletcher Bell in the late 1800s, was a central location used by angry mobs (due to its relatively low branches to loop ropes over) to punish African Americans and any sympathizers that violated racial etiquette. At 389 lynchings, Caddo Parish was second only to Phillips County, Arkansas, in total number of lynchings by county/parish in the United States.
These lynchings were a form of domestic terrorism that peaked between 1880 and 1950, claiming the lives of African-American men, women, and children who were forced to endure the fear, humiliation, and barbarity of this widespread phenomenon unaided.
We believe that this tree is a tool of domestic terrorism where the mob rule mentality replaced the justice system that should have protected the individuals that were beaten, dragged, lynched, and sometimes shot & burned AFTER being hung.
These trees must come down!!!
We propose that they be safely relocated. In return, we recommend that one (or more) Cypress tree(s) be planted in mourning & remembrance of the lives unjustly taken by the "Bloody Caddo" lynching trees not only within the parameters of Caddo Parish, but across the south.
With the removal of the Confederate monument from the Parish Courthouse on Texas Street in Shreveport, I believe removal of all tokens of racial hatred & bigotry should be erased from view. As long as the Southern Live Oak trees are present on the courthouse grounds, can a person of color truly expect "equal justice & liberty for all" while walking into a courthouse surrounded by subliminal gallows?