Dallas projects itself as a swaggering, self-made city destined for greatness. It proudly proclaims to have no limits, no reason to be and no history. But there is a history hidden in plain sight.
It is hidden because Dallas plowed through the city’s first and largest African American cemetery to build the North Central Expressway in the 1940s. It is hidden because Dallas history books, like Jim Schutze’s The Accommodation, get blocked by publishers at the risk of embarrassing city leadership. Neighborhoods change at warp speed. Historic buildings stand empty and neglected, if they still stand at all.
Stories get buried and replaced with myths of a white male business elite that created a regional economic empire out of nothing. The old white leadership controlled official memory for decades through a combination of the pulpit, news media, school curricula, entertainment, architecture, and urban renewal. But today, academics and curious residents are creating a more accurate history that includes the human costs of Dallas’ development.
Now retired, Don and Jocelyn Pinkard spend their days researching scarcely discussed stories of Dallas’ past for their Hidden History DFW tour. Visitors travel the city to more than 20 historic African American sites before lunch. The Pinkards and their families go back generations in Texas. Having both been raised in Oak Cliff, they have firsthand knowledge of the city and its many transformations. And they are sharing it.Read More