April 2, 1957: Tornado hits Oak Cliff and West Dallas

On April 2, 1957 a large F3 tornado hit Dallas, concentrating on Oak Cliff and areas of West Dallas. It struck in the middle of the day and still lives on in people’s memories as residents recall seeing the tornado clearly due to high visibility that day. The devastation in West Dallas neighborhoods was extensive, and made the already struggling community worse (Williams, n.d).

Many residents felt that the tornado coverage wasn’t big enough for the severity of the event. There wasn’t a memorial for the 10 people that died, showing West Dallas’ alienation from the rest of the Dallas community. The Dallas Observer cites a story of a black man that was crushed by a brick wall during the tornado because a group of white men wouldn’t let him into the bathroom they were sheltering in. All of the white men lived, showing how minorities were not given the same protection or consideration in this natural disaster (Williams, n.d.).

A newspaper article that listed the names of the tornado victims (Sood and Prout, 2019).

Despite the news stories covering the storm, the Times Herald was the only one that admitted that most of the victims of the storm were minorities. While the damage wasn’t major elsewhere in Dallas, it was devastating to low-income communities like West Dallas. Despite this devastation, this storm isn’t remembered for its destruction because it did not affect the main areas of Dallas (Sood and Prout, 2019).

To learn more about the storm’s devastation, watch the NBC Video below:

NBC 5 Video Vault: 30th Anniversary of 1957 Dallas Tornado. (n.d.). NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://www.nbcdfw.com/weather/weather-connection/nbc-5-video-vault-30th-anniversary-of-1957-dallas-tornado_dallas-fort-worth/216852/

Sood, E., & Prout, O. (2019, October 22). Two Texas takes: The 1957 Dallas tornado, as covered by The Morning News and The Times Herald. https://www.dallasnews.com/news/2019/10/22/the-dallas-times-herald-versus-the-dallas-morning-news/

Williams, R. (n.d.). 60 Years Ago This Month, Oak Cliffers Stood Outside to Watch a Deadly F3 Tornado. Dallas Observer. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://www.dallasobserver.com/arts/the-second-deadliest-tornado-in-dfw-history-struck-oak-cliff-60-years-ago-this-month-9383521