City Celebrates Dallas’ African American History
Many cultures of people have made America what it is today: the land of opportunity and freedoms unknown to many, worldwide.
As Black History Month ends, it is important to reflect on the many impactful contributions of African Americans to the City of Dallas. Some of the oldest residents of Texas are of African descent and they have worked alongside Americans of Mexican, European and indigenous descent to create a rich Texas culture.
Despite slavery, segregation and racial prejudice over the centuries, African Americans have continually served the community and influenced the City and State of Texas with their contributions, grit and selflessness.
With a large African American population in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex nearing one million, the region is alive with culture and diversity. Throughout the last 120 years, African Americans have influenced the city’s strong social and cultural heritage. Musicians such as Eddie Durham, Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter and Blind Lemon Jefferson brought innovated jazz, blues and ragtime to the City while writers such as Maude Cuney-Hare and artists like John Biggers became recognized worldwide for their distinct talents. Dallas is also home to the oldest Black Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1926, and is ranked in by prominent national publications as one of the best places for African Americans to do business and live.
During the struggles of the post-Civil War Reconstruction period, African Americans founded freedmen’s towns, like Deep Ellum, which created the progressive communities that still exist today. Churches like Boll Street African Methodist Episcopal in Dallas started the first schools in the city for children and other educational institutions, like Bishop and Wiley were formed. Many grocery stores, newspapers and other organizations were also established within the communities to serve African American needs.
The City of Dallas Black Employees Support Team (BEST) formed in 1986 when employees came together to examine the status of African-American women employed by the City of Dallas. BEST exists to enhance the growth and cohesiveness of all City of Dallas employees while conducting networking and career development events. These events serve to enhance employees’ potential with the City. BEST members are actively committed to the betterment of municipal government.
For more information please visit contact Beverly Davis at (214) 670-4462.