Tenaha is a town in Shelby County, Texas, United States. The population was 1,160 at the 2010 census.
Location within Shelby County (left) and Texas
|Coordinates: 31°56′39″N 94°14′47″W|
Tenaha was established in February 2, 1886. The community was named by members of the Hicks family for Tenehaw Municipality, from the Spanish, the original name of Shelby County.
In 2009, Tenaha became a defendant in a class action lawsuit over allegations that local police regularly made improper seizures of cash, jewelry, and property from African-Americanand Latino motorists passing through the town. Arrested drivers were given a choice of either going to jail on money-laundering felony charges or handing over all their valuables in order to be allowed to walk free. In one case a couple surrendered $6,000 to keep their children out of child protection services. In addition to taking of valuables from motorists who were not criminally charged, Tenaha officials allegedly agreed to lenient sentences for known drug traffickers in exchange for cash forfeitures. An article in the New Yorker gives further detail. See Government section for more details.
Tenaha is located at (31.944062, -94.246274).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 4.0 square miles (10.3 km²), of which 4.0 square miles (10.2 km²) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) (0.50%) is water.
Public education in the town of Tenaha is provided by the Tenaha Independent School District. The best known alumnus of Tenaha High School is Jim Wilkinson (James R. Wilkinson), who gave up plans to become an undertaker to go to work for Republican Congressman Dick Armey in 1992. He served as General Tommy R. Franks' director of strategic communications, and is deputy national security advisor for communications as of December 2003.