WHITE SETTLEMENT—Seeking a way to lure more business and avoid any racial connotations, city leaders are asking voters to consider taking the white out of White Settlement.
“When people see the name, the question of race comes to mind. They ask, ‘What is that all about? Why is that name there?’“ Mayor James Ouzts said. “If you start out in a negative spot, it’s hard to overcome that.”
On Nov. 8, the city of 15,400 will vote on a proposal that would change the name to West Settlement as part of a charter election. According to Census figures, the city is 78 percent white, 13.4 percent Hispanic, 4 percent black and 1.5 percent Asian/Pacific Islander.
Incorporated in 1941, this suburb west of Fort Worth was first settled by whites in the late 1830s in what was then the Republic of Texas. It was in the 1840s that the area, surrounded by many American Indian tribes, became known as the White Settlement, city officials and historians said.
The name change was among several ideas suggested during a city council meeting last year as a way to boost the image and attract more business to a city with a budget that relies heavily on sales taxes, Ouzts said.
“It just means that there was a group of whites who were daring enough to come West and settle in the midst of the Indians,” Fairley said. “We are going to lose the record of what the city meant historically.”