The History of South Dallas Timeline will guide you through South Dallas’ history, from desegregation to the establishment of Fair Park and the implications that have followed. In each event, you will find information from books, articles, and news sources along with a video or podcast diving deeper into the topic. The history below, compiled by Cristal Mendez and Shelby Peck, was intended to highlight key events in the past, but also explain how those events are still shaping the future of South Dallas.
Slaves are freed after the Emancipation Proclamation during the Civil War leading to the establishment of Freedman’s Towns throughout Dallas.
The creation of two separate education systems in Texas led churches and community members to fill the gaps.
Fair Park in Dallas was chosen as the home for the Texas State Fair over larger cities like Houston and San Antonio, creating a legacy for years to come.
Changes to the city government would not favor all constituents equally.
The CCA and business community promoted the idea of a city manager.
The Texas Centennial Exposition was held in Fair Park in 1936 to celebrate Texas Independence.
Dallas Government Designates Areas Throughout South Dallas as “Redzones” that are Unsafe for Investments
The creation of “redzones” allowed banks to reject loan requests from areas they considered “high risk,” allowing for discrimination against low-income residents of Dallas.
The Trinity River often flooded South Dallas, which is located on the floodplain, devastating the community and the small businesses that reside there.
North Central Expressway divided North Dallas (a previous Freedman’s Town) in two, causing migration to South Dallas.
Black families experienced harassment in South Dallas at a time when little housing was available for them.
Brown v. Board overrides Plessy v. Ferguson’s “separate but equal” doctrine and allows desegregation of public schools.
I-30 divided Dallas into North and South, allowing for geographical segregation of the two communities.
Woodall Rodgers Freeway ran through Freedman’s Town (currently Uptown), cutting residents off from downtown Dallas by foot and forcing relocation.
The State Fair created a redevelopment program to turn surrounding low-income neighborhoods into parking lots.
In order to address the slow desegregation, Judge Taylor passed a busing system to bus minority students into high income public schools.
The Community Reinvestment Act tried to address the issue of redlining on a national level, but was misused so that banks could invest in low-income housing, causing a “slumlord” problem in Dallas.
Resident and community members wanted more representation in City Council.
10th Street is one of the only remaining Freedman’s Towns and represents the culture and history of the black community in Dallas.
The African American Museum resides in Fair Park and offers a collection of black art and cultural exhibits from across the country.
The DART light rail system was created to allow easy transportation for those throughout Dallas, but it works to benefit the wealthy class despite their lack of use.
Restorative Farms is a South Dallas organization that has a community garden and uses restorative justice to help maintain the garden.
The U.S. House Financial Services Committee met to discuss the issue of redlining in Dallas, talking to various community members about their experiences.
Do you have any suggestions of events or sources that we missed? Please let us know by clicking on the tool icon above!