Growing up in a small Texas town in the 1960s, Judge Gracie Lewis lived an idyllic farm life that included driving her grandfather’s tractor and getting vegetables ready for market. But Hempstead, Texas, also taught Lewis some ugly lessons, she says.

“Hempstead has had a reputation for having a lot of racial problems. When I was a child, there was a man who was killed. And he was African-American. And he started dating a white female behind the father’s back. It was kind of a secret that everybody knew,” Lewis says. “And at some point, the young man decided he was going to talk to the girl’s father and be upfront. And he went to the door, and the [woman's father] killed him. And nothing ever happened.

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