Dallas accepts $50,000 grant to preserve African American civil rights history
The City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture (OAC) received a $50,000 grant from the National Park Service (NPS) for the research and interpretation of the historic legacy of the Hall of Negro Life from the 1936 Texas Centennial Celebration. The grant comes after OAC receiving a $500,000 grant to support major renovations of the Juanita J. Craft Civil Rights House September 2019.
“This $50,000 federal grant is a significant win for the City of Dallas, for Fair Park, and for the preservation of history,” said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson. “With this funding, our local historians and scholars can help reveal and share a more complete history of the struggle for civil rights in our city. I am eager to see this project completed, and I am grateful to all those who are making this effort possible.”
After witnessing African American leaders’ resiliency in fighting for representation and socioeconomic improvements, the Hall of Negro Life was constructed for the 1936 Texas Centennial at Fair Park. Even with this success, the Hall of Negro Life was deconstructed just a year after its opening and there remains conflicting information about the reason for its deconstruction, the contents inside and its overall significance at Fair Park. As a result of the 2018 City Council resolution, The Working Group on Confederate Monuments recommended that these untold histories surrounding African American history and civil rights at Fair Park be better interpreted to the Dallas community.
“Since 2017, Dallas has worked to address the ways we share important pieces of our local history – including the Hall of Negro Life,” said OAC Director Jennifer Scripps. “We are so grateful to our partners on this project and are eager to begin this work in earnest thanks to this Federal grant funding.”
This grant-funded project will be used to uncover hidden information about African American history and Civil Rights events in Dallas. Local historians, as well as individuals that lived through and experienced the Civil Rights movement will assist the grant program with obtaining evidence and documentation of these untold stories. Archival research will be provided by Inspire Art Dallas. Recording space for telling these historical stories will be provided by Fair Park First. This project is expected to be completed by fall 2023.