Dallas and the African-American Experience

One of the many interesting things that is a part of our DallasArts District Architecture Walking Tour is the story of Freedmans Town. After the Civil War, severalAfrican-American communities sprang up around the area.  One of the most vibrant was in what is now theeast end of the Arts District.  Let’stake a closer look.

The neighborhood around what is now Hall and Central was oneof the largest African-American neighborhoods in the post-Civil War era.  Fortunately, several buildings associated withthe settlement remain:  Booker T. Washington High School, the Moorland YMCA(now the home of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre) and St. Paul United Methodist Church.

St Paul’scelebrates its 137th anniversary this year, and D Magazine took a look at the church’s history in arecent article.  It’s exciting to seethe church and its wonderfully mis-matched bricks after a recent completerestoration.

The restoration and construction in the area has alsoprompted an archaeological exploration of nearby sites, revealing artifactsportraying the history of the neighborhood.  The Juliette Street ArchaeologicalProject site has some fascinating stuff.  Check it out.

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