A lot of history is found in Dallas. Dallas is the city with the third most populous city in Texas. Dallas doesn't just have importance in the oil industry. It has a long history involved in social movements, various industries, and other aspects of our lives. Dallas is a large, diverse city. For a long time, I wanted to write about the history and culture of Dallas and now I have the opportunity to do so. From the Dallas downtown skyline to the State Fair of Texas at Fair Park, Dallas has a lot of in structure that people the world over enjoy year round. Railroads surround the city and it is found in Dallas County. Sections of the city are also located in Collin, Denton, Kaufman, and Rockwall counties. It has over 1,300,000 people today. Its metropolitan area is called the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan area. To the left of Dallas immediately is Arlington and to the left of Arlington is Fort Worth. Dallas has 385 square miles of land. Dallas’ metropolitan area is the fifth largest economy in America with a 2014 GDP of over $504 billion. Its metropolitan area has almost 3.5 million jobs. Banking, commerce, telecommunications, technology, energy, health care, medical research, transportation, and logistics are occupations that dominate the economy of Dallas. Dallas is home to the third largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in America (behind New York City and Houston).
Dallas has the largest metropolitan area of the South. Dallas has massive interstate highways and it is a strong industrial and financial center. The Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is one of the largest and busiest airports in the world. What is also important is to acknowledge the great people and culture of Dallas. We see great cuisine found in the city of Dallas. Opera, museums, and entertainment centers are readily found in the Dallas area too. A well-known art district is found in Downtown including famous musical places. A lot of people low sports and Dallas has many sports teams from the Cowboys to the Mavericks. One of the great parks of American society is our diversity and Dallas has plenty of it. Therefore, we will always believe in economic and social justice. We will fight for our human rights. So, Dallas is a city with a rich history and its people are filled with love, hope, compassion, and strength.
In the beginning, Dallas was inhabited by Native Americans. The Caddo Native Americans inhabited in the Dallas area before. Later, the rest of Texas, Dallas, etc. was part of the Spanish Viceroyalty of New Spain in the 16th century. Viceroyalty refers to a Spanish colony in the Americas. The area was also claimed by the French. Yet, in 1819, the Adams-Onis Treaty officially placed Dallas well within Spanish territory by making the Red River the northern boundary of New Spain. In 1778, one European who visited the Dallas area probably was Athanase de Mezieres. De Mezieres was a Frenchman who was in the service of the King of Spain. He probably crossed the West Fork of the Trinity River near present day Fort Worth. He crossed the western edge of the Eastern Cross Tembers from the Tawakoni Village on the Brazos River near present day Waco. He then came north to the Red River. He wrote about his experiences too. De Mezieres' biographer, Bolton, was convinced de Mezieres was describing the Eastern Cross Timbers and the route would have him crossing the West Fork of the Trinity River between the present Fort Worth and Arlington. Dallas remained under Spanish rule until 1821. That was the year when Mexico declared independence from Spain. The area became part of the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas.
The Republic of Texas (filled with newcomers and slavery) broke off from Mexico in 1836 and remained an independent country for nearly 10 years. John Neely Bryan wanted a good trading post to serve Native Americans and settlers. He first surveyed the Dallas area in 1839. He might have been drawn by the intersection of Caddo trails at one of the few natural fords or hundreds of miles along the wide Trinity floodplain. Bryan knew that the planned Preston Trail was to run near the ford. The north-south route and the ford at Bryan’s Bluff became more important when the United States annexed Texas in 1845. After Bryan surveyed the area, he returned home to Arkansas. In Arkansas, a treaty was signed removing all Native Americans from Northern Texas, which was evil. He returned to Dallas in November of 1841. Half of his customers were gone. He decided that instead of creating a trading post, he would create a permanent settlement. He founded it on November 1841. In 1841, J. P. Dumas surveyed and laid out a 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) section of blocks and streets near present downtown.The origin of the name is uncertain, as there were a number of people named Dallas who could have been the inspiration for the name. In 1855, a group of European artists and musicians (like the French, Belgians, and the Swiss) set up an Utopian community west of Dallas called “La Reunion.” When that venture collapsed in 1857, many of the artists moved to Dallas. In Dallas, they formed the base of a culture which a century and a half later was reflected in the creative neighborhoods of Deep Ellum (east of Downtown) and lower Greenville Avenue.
The Colonial Period and Early Dallas
By February 2, 1856, Dallas was granted a town charter during the Regular session of the sixth Texas legislature. Samuel Pryor was elected the first mayor of Dallas along with a constable, a treasurer-recorder, and six aldermen. In 1860, the town of Dallas reach 678 people including 97 African Americans (mostly enslaved), as well as Belgian, French, German, and Swiss immigrants. In that year, the railroad was approaching from the south and several stage lines were already passing through the city. In July 1860, a fire broke out in the square, destroying most of the buildings in the business district of Dallas.
The Civil War
In July 1860, a fire broke out in the square, destroying most of the buildings in the business district of Dallas. Out of fear, many white residents assumed that slaves were behind it, and two abolitionists were run out of town. They lynched three African-American slaves, and officials ordered all other slaves in Dallas to be whipped. People already know that racism and injustice were found in Dallas back then and today. Slavery and lynching are totally evil period. On the eve of the Civil War in 1861, Dallas County voted 741-237 in favor of secession. June 8, 1861 of that year was when a state of war was declared. Many citizens supported the rebels. Dallas was a long way from any battles and it suffered no major damage from the war. The Reconstruction period brought many new events for Dallas and many benefits for the state.
Reconstruction and The Industrial Period
On June 19, 1865, or Juneteenth, Texan slaves were emancipated, as announcement of the end of the war was delayed. Many African Americans migrated to Dallas after the war for work, because the city was thriving compared to other Southern cities. They also wanted to leave rural areas to escape the supervision of whites and establish their own communities. Freedmen's towns were scattered throughout Dallas. Racist white supremacists retaliated against Reconstruction by creating a KKK chapter in Dallas in 1868 made up of white insurgent Confederate veterans. In 1869, the Reconstruction legislature established a funding mechanism to support public education for the first time, and authorized school districts to be set up across the state. Notable Civil War soldiers living in Dallas include William W. Ross. The Dallas Morning News states that, “William W. and Andrew J. Ross were early land owners who came to Dallas in 1866. One was a Civil War veteran, but, both men were farmers and real estate developers.” Ross Avenue is named in honor of the two brothers and bisects the land they formerly owned. In 2009, a Nevada-based clergy group proposed that Ross Avenue be renamed after the Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi. The major north-south (Houston and Texas Central Railroad) and east-west (Texas and Pacific Railway) Texas railroad routes intersected in Dallas in 1873, thus ensuring its future as a commercial center. The arrival of the trains also meant soaring populations — the population of Dallas increased rapidly from 3,000 in early 1872 to more than 7,000 in September of the same year. New buildings and new businesses appeared daily. Dallas was the epicenter of the markets for raw materials and commodity crops, such as grains and cotton, which were shipped to the South and East. It was also the "last chance" stop for supplies for people traveling west.
From the Later 19th century to the Early 20th Century (the Oil Period)
The Industrial Period from 1874 to 1929 saw Dallas grow from a center of farming and ranching into a major self-sustaining industrial city. The industrial growth in Dallas was formed in part out of problems hurting Dallas area farmers. After buying supplies on credit during the year, farmers owed merchants the majority of their crop. Costs to ship to the coast were very high, and the price of cotton was dropping. By 1880, the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad under the leadership of Jay Gould reached Dallas. In 1885, the Main Street was lit with electricity. In 1888, the Dallas Zoo opened making it the first zoological garden in the state. In 1890, Dallas annexed the city of East Dallas, which was larger geographically than Dallas. The annexation made Dallas the most populous city in Texas during that time period. After the national financial panic in 1893, numerous industries and five Dallas banks failed. Cotton prices dipped below five cents a pound and the lumber and flour markets had all but vanished, so many people began leaving the city. By 1898, the city began to recover and grow again.
In 1894, Parkland Memorial Hospital opened just west of Oak Lawn. In 1903, Oak Cliff, a city across the Trinity River, was annexed. By the turn of the 20th century, Dallas was the leading drug, book, jewelry, and wholesale liquor market in the Southwestern United States. It also quickly became the center of trade in cotton, grain, and even buffalo. It was the world's leading inland cotton market, and it still led the world in manufacture of saddlery and cotton gin machinery. During the early 20th century, Dallas transformed from an agricultural center to a center of banking, insurance, fashion retailing and other businesses. Founded here were Marcus and the now-defunct A. Harris and Brothers ready-to-wear stores. The 14-story Praetorian Building was the first skyscraper west of the Mississippi River and the tallest building in Texas during that time.
Texan black people, Mexican Americans and poor whites were excluded from much of the progress by being disfranchised when the state legislature imposed a poll tax in 1902. In addition, it had earlier established Jim Crow laws, making racial segregation legal and continuing to impose the system of racism/white supremacy. The Trinity River flooded in 1908. It was 52.6 feet high. 5 people died and 4,000 people were left homeless. Property damages were estimated at $2.5 million. After the flood, the city wanted to take action to control the Trinity and build a bridge linking Oak Cliff and Dallas. By 1911, George Kessler or a city planner created a plan for both the Trinity and the city. His plans were initially ignored but ultimately brought back, updated, in the 1920's. By the 1930's, many of his plans had been realized. The expansion of industrial jobs attracted migrants from across the region, as well as weaves of immigrants, first from southern and eastern Europe. Many neighborhoods of Dallas have demonstrated the process of ethnic succession, whereby immigrants or migrants move into lower cost housing until they can get established. One group moves out to newer housing and another new group fills the area. For instance, Polish Jewish immigrants settled together beginning in the late 19th century. As they got established, they gradually moved to newer housing.
The area bordered by Maple Avenue, McKinney Avenue and the MKT (Missouri, Kansas, Texas) Railroad became known as Little Mexico following 1910, when it was settled by a wave of Mexican immigrants, who left the disruption following the defeat of President Porfirio Diaz and his government, and the start of the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920). Mexicans from all walks of life came to the Dallas area to take jobs in factories, agriculture and the railroads. In 1911, Dallas was chosen as the location of the eleventh regional branch of the Reserve Bank. That year millionaire Dr. William Worthington Samuel, purchased the first ambulance for the city of Dallas, and later donated thousands of dollars to expand Parkland Hospital. The growth of aviation generated new development in the city in World War I. Love Field was established as an aviation training ground. Fair Park was the home of Camp Dick, a training facility as well. The city purchased Love Field in 1927 to use as a municipal airport. In 1915, Southern Methodist University opened. The Great Depression affected many Americans. Business in construction flourished in Dallas in 1930. In that year, Columbus Marion Joiner struck oil 100 miles east of Dallas in Kilgore. This caused the East Texas oil boom. Dallas quickly became the financial center for the oil industry in Texas and Oklahoma. Banks made loans to develop the oil fields and Dallas became the financial center for all oil fields in the Texas Panhandle, the Permian Basin, East Texas, Gulf Coast, and Oklahoma. By 1931, there were falling prices and overproduction, which affected the city economy’s negatively. By then, more than 18,000 people in the city were unemployed. Before the New Deal policy started, the city had a work for food program that helped many human beings. After a long campaign in the years leading up to 1936, the state of Texas chose Dallas as the state of the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition. More than 50 buildings were built for the Exposition in Fair Park and 10 million visitors came to see the US$25 million spectacle (or $426 million in today’s terms).
World War II
World War II was the bloodiest war in human history. During World War II, Dallas was a manufacturing center for the war effort. By 1940, the population of the city of Dallas had reached 294,734. In 1942, the Ford Motor plant in Dallas converted to war-time production, producing only jeeps and military trucks. In 1943, the city began rationing with 376,085 ration books distributed. University of Texas Southwestern Medical School was established in the same year too. New industries were created. Many rural residents came into Dallas and other urban centers during World War II. More than 1.2 million troops were trained for service at bases and camps in Texas. Many of these soldiers were from outside the state of Texas. 7% of the American forces who served in the military during WWII were from Texas. Many women, black people, and other minority workers were in factories and took high skilled, high wage jobs that were once closed to them before the war. Admiral Chester Nimitz was a Texan. He was the commander of the Pacific Fleet and he came from Fredericksburg, TX. Dwight W. Eisenhower was born in Dennison and he was the supreme Allied Commander in Europe. Former Texas first lady Oveta Culp Hobby was the commander of the Women’s Army Corps. Lieutenant Audie Murphy was from Farmersville. African Americans and Tejanos joined the military in large numbers, but most black Texans served in segregated units, led by white officers. Latinos suffered discrimination too. Many African Americans and Latinos returned back from the war with a further sense of determination to fight for human rights. Texas’ population increased by 33 percent from the beginning of the depression to 1945. Manufacturing increased and Texas became more urbanized and with a diversified economy.
Dallas's Civil Rights Movement
The civil rights history in Dallas has not been shown much in many quarters. Today, it is time for many more people to know about the heroic history of the civil rights movement in Dallas, Texas. Black people lived in Texas for centuries. The 1836 Constitution of the Republic of Texas forbid free person of African descent to live in the Republic of Texas. So, massive racism in Texas is not new. By 1792, people of black African descent massively lived in Spanish Texas. Black people who were free worked in many areas. When Mexico ruled Texas, black people could own land, build businesses, etc. When Mexico lost Texas, black people and other people of color lost their rights. There were about 5,000 enslaved people in Texas by the early 1830’s. The Mexican government legally abolished slavery in 1829. Texas promoted slavery when it became a Republic in 1836. Samuel McCulloch Jr. fought for his freedom in the Republic of Texas.
Black people in Dallas continued to fight for freedom. In areas of Fort Worth and Denton, black people also continued to develop their power and fought injustice. During the 1950’s, black people were forced to live in areas of the city like South Dallas and parts of Oak Cliff. Segregation existed. Local Dallas chapters existed back then like the NAACP, CORE, and the SCLC. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came to Dallas, TX in January 4, 1963. During this time, African American activists opposed the poll tax in Dallas via demonstrations. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was invited to speak. Others who participated included local labor union representatives, the heads of local black churches, and representatives of the Democratic Party, among others. Dr. King spoke at the large Music Hall at Fair Park. The location was crowded (with about 2,500 people among black and white people). Dr. King spoke these words:
“…We must get rid of the notion, once and for all, that there is a superior and an inferior race.” The audience there immediately cheers. He also commented that “We must develop a powerful action program to break down the barriers of segregation,” and we must be honest “with ourselves and our white brothers: Segregation is wrong. It is a new formula of slavery covered up with nice complexities.”
He added: "If the American dream is to be a reality, the idea of white supremacy must come to an end now and ever more." There was the 28-day protest of Dallas’ downtown Piccadilly Cafeteria. Clarence Broadnax, the first African-American hairdresser employed at Neiman Marcus, was denied service at the cafeteria on the basis of his race.
The long, peaceful protest ended only when the Civil Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. During that 28-day window, Broadnax and his supporters unwaveringly, yet calmly, demanded equal rights, as the Piccadilly Cafeteria owners fervently denied them. There was the large demonstration in Dallas called the March of 3,000. This was a march for voting rights. The march, comprised of Dallas residents of all races, peacefully filled the downtown area and was organized by the NAACP. Back during the 1960’s, Dallas was a heavily segregated city. Many places of business still practiced discrimination in serving customers. "White Only" and "Colored Only" signs could still be seen everywhere, particularly over water fountains and on restroom doors and newspapers printed classified ads offering rental housing for "Colored Only." The 24th Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1964, finally did away with the poll tax. A great black woman and civil rights hero in Dallas, TX was Juanita Craft. She was born in 1902. She joined the NAACP in 1932. She fought for justice. In 1944, after becoming the first black woman in Dallas County to vote in a public election, she attempted to help enroll the first black student at North Texas State College (Now the University of North Texas), a battle eventually won through litigation. In 1955, she organized a protest of the State against its policy of admitting blacks only on "Negro Achievement Day." She organized protests and pickets of segregated lunch counters, restaurants, theaters, and public transportation. She fought to integrate the University of Texas Law School and the Dallas Independent School District after the 1954 decision in Brown. V. Board of Education (which banned the segregation of public schools in America). Juanita Craft passed away in August 6, 1985 at the age of 83.
RIP Sister Juanita Craft.
Real Estate Boom
By the late 1970’s to the early to mid-1980’s, Dallas underwent the building boom. That caused a distinctive contemporary profile for the downtown area. Also, its prominent skyline was influenced by nationally acclaimed architects. By the 1980’s, the oil industry mostly relocated to Houston. In that time, Dallas was beginning to benefits from a burgeoning technology boom. That was driven by the growing computer and telecom industries. Dallas continued to be a center of banking and business. In 1983, voters in Dallas and area cities approved the creation of Dallas Area Rapid Transit to replace the Dallas Transit System. Dallas annexed Audelia in 1981 and Renner in 1983. By 1984, the Dallas Museum of Art moved from Fair Park as one of the first buildings in downtown’s Arts District. In 1984, the Republican National Convention was held in Dallas too. The peak of the real estate boom was in 1985 when the 72 story Bank of America Plaza (then InterFirst Plaza) opened as the tallest building in Dallas. From the mid-to-late 1980s, many banks, especially in Dallas, collapsed during the Savings and Loan crisis, nearly destroying the city's economy and scrapping plans for hundreds of structures.
From the mid-1980’s to 1995, there was the recession era in Dallas. During that time period, not a single high-rise structure was built within the downtown freeway loop. Over-speculating, over-building, the Savings and Loan crisis, and the recession practically destroyed the city economically. In 1989, the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center opened in the Arts District of downtown. Dallas celebrated a major landmark during this period, celebrating its 150th anniversary in 1991.
The Current Era and the 21st Century
From the late 1990’s, there was the booming telecom industry which exploded in Dallas, especially in areas like Las Colinas and the Telecom Corridor. During this time, Dallas became known as Texas's Silicon Valley, or the "Silicon Prairie.” Another recession prompted by the dot-com bubble-burst and the 2001 terrorist attacks hurt several of the city's vital industries. By 2004, signs of an economic turnaround began to appear. In 2005, three towers began construction amid tens of residential conversions and smaller residential projects. By the year 2010, the North Central Texas Council of Governments expects 10,000 residents to live within the loop. Just north, Uptown is one of the hottest real estate markets in the country. At the beginning of 2006, nine high-rise residential buildings or hotels were under construction in that area. Leading the way is the $500M phase two of Victory Park, a $3B+ project. At full build-out, it should contain more than 4,000 residences and 4M ft² of office and retail space. The Arts District in downtown is also expected to become a major point of growth. As the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Foundation implements construction on several new projects in its master plan for the area. When the new Winspear Opera House (Foster and Partners) and Wyly Theatre (Office for Metropolitan Architecture - Rem Koolhaas) join the existing Nasher Sculpture Center(Renzo Piano) and Meyerson Symphony Center (I.M. Pei and Partners), Dallas will be the only city in the world that has four buildings within one contiguous block that are all designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize winners. On May 31, 2016, several cities experienced record setting flooding. Dallas suffered massive flooding during that time too. In July of 2016, the Dallas shooting existed. The gunman was Micah Johnson who killed 5 cops, wounded some cops, and wounded one woman. This comes in the midst of police terrorism across America (against black people and others) and economic inequality.
The Culture in Dallas
The Culture of Dallas is very diverse and beautiful. For centuries, Dallas has not only influenced Texas, but places across America and throughout the world. Dallas is a city with cultural influences from the American West and from the South. Dallas’ culture is also diversified too.African Americans have a long history in Dallas.. Southern areas of Dallas, especially Pleasant Grove is predominantly African American. The eastern parts of the city are mostly white and the northwestern portion of the city is home to a fairly equal mix of black people and Latinos. Many Hispanic people have a large culture in Dallas. Southwestern areas of the city like Oak Cliff are predominantly or completely Hispanic. There are many barbecues, authentic Mexican, and Tex-Mex cuisine in Dallas. The Dallas area in general is home to a large amount of restaurants featuring cuisine from all over the world. There are also found localized populations of Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean, Thai, Indian, German, Middle Eastern, Polish, Russian, and Jewish people. There is the Greek Food Festival of Dallas as well. Many Asian communities also reside in the suburbs like in Plano, Irving, Carrolton, and Richardson. There is a large art scene in Dallas, Texas too. The Arts District in downtown has many venues like the Dallas Museum of Art, the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, The Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center.
In 2009, the AT&T Performing Arts Center was completed, which includes the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, the Annette Strauss Artists Square, and the Elaine D. and Charles A. Sammons Park. Construction of the City Performance Hall was scheduled for completion in September 2012. The Arts District is also home to Dallas Independent School District's Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. The Majestic Theatre is a historic theater in the City Center District that has been restored for use as a performing arts facility. As for religion, there is a largest Protestant Christian influence in Dallas as Dallas is in the Bible belt filled with Methodists, Baptists, etc. Also, there is a significant amount of Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Mormon, Muslim, Hindu, and other religious groups in Dallas too. Since 1886, there is the annual State Fair of Texas held in Dallas. There are Juneteenth festivities in Dallas. Cinco de Mayo celebrations are well known in Dallas including St. Patrick Day parades in Irish communities (especially along east Dallas’ Lower Greenville Avenue).