Dr. Clive Siegle, a professor at Richland College, received his PhD in history at SMU.
If you’ve ever whizzed around White Rock Skate, taken a dip in the K.C. Pool or dropped off a car for repairs at Northlake Automotive, you’ve been directly in the bull’s eye of Dallas history. Thanks to researchers at Dallas College’s Richland campus and planners at the City of Dallas, Lake Highlands will forever remember the legacy of the Little Egypt Community.
A permanent historical marker was unveiled Saturday outside the Park Department’s Paul Dyer Administration Complex, formerly known as the Muchert Army Reserve Center. The plaque honors African Americans who settled 30 acres in that area after the Civil War and raised families there until they were displaced in 1962.
“I feel like I’m walking on hallowed ground,” said Councilman Adam McGough. “History is something we have to know, and getting to know our ancestors who lived that history is incredibly important. The rest of our city needs to know what happened here and learn the legacy of what went on.”
Dozens of Little Egypt family descendants were on hand for the unveiling, including relatives of Jeff and Hanna Hill, enslaved persons who purchased the original plot of land in 1883 after being freed in 1865. Many still attend Egypt Chapel Baptist Church, which relocated to Oak Cliff and is still going strong.
The story of Little Egypt, named by founding families to commemorate their own journey out of bondage, might have been lost forever if not for Dr. Tim Sullivan and Dr. Clive Siegle, two Richland College professors who put their students to work uncovering the settlement in 2015. With no running water or paved roads, the community left few tell-tale signs behind after the homes were bulldozed by developers. But students interested in anthropology, history and genealogy spent hours taking oral histories from families and digging for clues at the site. They hit a treasure trove in the empty lot next to East Lake Veterinary Hospital, where veterinarian Dr. Karen Fling let students dig away. Read the full article.