1907: Beginnings of Cement City

What is known as Cement City started with the arrival of the Southwestern States Cement Company in 1907 (James, 2018). The company needed workers, and many came from Mexico, some fleeing the Mexican Revolution. Others heard that there was work in this part of town after previously working on the railroads laying tracks. Eventually, the company constructed segregated housing for its workers. One village was designated for African Americans and Mexican Americans, while the other one was for Whites. Many residents didn’t have adequate running water and electricity (Andrade Franco, 2019).

 “One village was for whites. The others—Campo Grande, Campo Chico, and Eagle Ford—were for Mexicans. Before Little Mexico became a center of Dallas’ Mexican community, only to get displaced by what is now Uptown, these were among the city’s other original barrios. Those barrios were around Cement City because Mexicans helped make the substance that became the literal foundation for Dallas’ growth” (Andrade Franco, 2019, para. 16).

(James, 2018)

The workers in Cement City experienced dangers, and the work was bone-breaking. Additionally, the community faced several injustices. The cement factory produced dust and fumes, which contaminated their water. They also faced discrimination, much like other communities of color. Despite facing adversities, the families in Cement City made it their home. Eventually, the company headquarters moved away, and today the only remaining structure is a small cemetery behind an AT&T building. Some families stayed in West Dallas and have family members buried there (Andrade Franco, 2019).

Watch the following video to hear from individuals that lived in or have family connections to Cement City.

If you would like to skip ahead on the timeline to topics related to segregated housing, click on the topics below:

Racially segregated housing opens in West Dallas, hoping to solve racial disparities in housing but instead leading to a series of environmental and social hazards:
Due to racist housing practices with the Fair Public Housing in West Dallas, four community members filed a lawsuit against the DHA:


Andrade Franco, R.J. (2019, December). The ghosts of Cement City. D Magazine https://www.dmagazine.com/publications/d-magazine/2019/december/the-ghosts-of-cement-city/

James, F. (2018, September 24). Cement City changed West Dallas. Dallas Gateway. https://dallasgateway.com/cement-city-changed-west-dallas/