Latino/Latina Religions 2012, Dallas

The students in the Cultural Formations/Religious Studies course Latino/Latina Religions are conducting research on the history of the Walt Humann and T. Boone Pickens Community Center at Jubilee Park and its surrounding neighborhood. The center, near the Fair Park area of Dallas, was founded by Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in 1997 and serves a diverse population. Through their research, students hope to learn more about the ways religious organizations impact local communities, and about the changing landscapes that have formed Dallas over the years. At the culmination of the project in December, students will present their findings in a presentation at the Jubilee Park Center, www.jubileecenter.org

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What makes a history?

An update from Rebecca, a senior vocal performance and music education major:

I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Fondren Library the past few days looking up demographic and financial data for the Jubilee Park area. It’s been interesting to track the rise and fall of the population in the area, as well as the way the African-American population in Jubilee Park seems to fall as the Hispanic population rises.

It’s also interesting to note that, when calculated for inflation, the average income between 1994 and 2008 in the area has risen only marginally, and some years, there are strangely dramatic drops in the population. I’ve been combing newspaper articles, especially in the Dallas Times Herald and the Dallas Weekly, trying to find a possible reason for this, but it’s often difficult to separate valuable facts from passing trends.

This is the first time I’ve helped put together a history of an area almost from scratch, and the number of different sources that go into this project – facts, figures, personal interviews, newspaper articles – often seems daunting. How can we dig out what we need from all of this information? How can we take all these disparate founts of information and create one history from it? Today in class, we’re going to try to do just that, and the process should be interesting.

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