Click “Read The Rest…” to listen to the interview and see more images from Jasper, Texas, twenty years after the death of James Byrd, Jr.
(Michael Hogue/Staff Artist)
One in five black people avoids medical care because of racial concerns over health care providers. One-third of African-Americans surveyed for a joint report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, National Public Radio and Harvard University said they have experienced discrimination at a doctor’s office or a clinic.
Older studies confirm black patients are more comfortable with black doctors, after a history of cruel treatment by white doctors and, for some, personal preference. And, despite a century of hard work by local black doctors to promote their profession, Dallas still isn’t educating enough black doctors.
(Michael Hogue/DMN Staff)
Decades before Dealey Plaza would become the site where crowds gathered to greet a presidential motorcade, it was infamous as the place another stunned crowd cheered and mourned.
Three slaves were killed in the area. Seventeen days prior to the triple-lynching, a suspicious fire had consumed parts of downtown, adding to the heat of the summer of 1860 and inflaming paranoia.
“Did you know about this?” George Keaton suddenly asked, halting his narrative. I said no.
I was captivated by this born storyteller who had done careful research on his family, which has been in Dallas since the era of slavery. Their stories are the stories of Dallas, and Keaton is the keeper of that history. Now, he’s helping Dallas to memorialize his family and what they represented.
“They whipped two white preachers and let them go,” Keaton answered. “A committee decided not to let the black men go, though there was never a trial or any charges.” Keaton sighed deeply, “They were unjustly hanged.”
The slaves were blamed for the fire.
Close-up view of a postcard that depicts a public lynching in Dallas. In this photo, taken on March 3, 1910, a vast mob of 10,000, many of them children, stand shoulder to shoulder around Allen Brooks, a black man. He is lynched from a telephone pole at Elm and Akard streets in downtown Dallas. ( )
The next time you’re in downtown Dallas, on Akard at Main Street, pause for a moment and imagine thousands of white people gathered in that spot for the public lynching of Allen Brooks. The year was 1910. A mob with a Ku Klux Klan mentality dragged the 65-year old black man from his trial at the nearby Dallas County Courthouse. Swift, vigilante justice instilled the desired terror in black residents.
The next time you walk past the first luxury hotel in Dallas on Commerce Street, or have brunch in its French Room, imagine how KKK members kidnapped an Adolphus Hotel employee from his Ross Avenue home because of a rumored liaison with a white woman.
It’s vital that we mark this history to ensure it never happens again. Today, there are nearly 900 active hate groups in America. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Texas has more than any other state. Of the 84 noted in Texas, more than 50 are KKK chapters.
Best Southwest Juneteenth Celebration was put on by the cities of DeSoto, Lancaster, Cedar Hill and Duncanville to celebrate Juneteenth on June 18, 2016 at Grimes Park in DeSoto. (Jerry McClure/ )
Back when Galveston was a busy port with a booming commercial district, a hardware store owner named James Moreau Brown sold his business and bought a slave named Alek, who was a stone mason. In 1859, Brown, who soon became the fifth-richest man in Texas, and Alek began building a Victorian mansion.
Brown called his grand residence Ashton Villa and threw lavish parties, including one of the best annual New Year’s balls Galveston had ever seen. And when Ulysses S. Grant was elected president, Ashton Villa was the only private dwelling he entered while in Galveston.
That is fitting, because it is also the place where, on June 19, 1865, one of Grant’s generals stood on the balcony to read a proclamation that would change everything for Texas. General Order No. 3: All slaves are free. The date is crucial; slaves in Texas were finally given this news two years after the Emancipation Proclamation had already freed them.
The Rev. Ronald E. Jones at his church, New Hope Baptist Church (Ron Baselice/Dallas News Staff Photographer)
Some years back, when I agreed to visit Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship to worship with a friend, I had no idea President George W. Bush would also be visiting with his friend, Tony Evans, the minister.
Not long after that, another friend invited me to The Potter’s House to hear Bishop T. D. Jakes, and I was escorted to the VIP section. By mistake, I thought, since former Dallas Cowboy Emmitt Smith was seated behind me. During the jumbo-screen announcements, Jakes introduced everyone on our row, including “the writer” next to U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
And then, there is Freddy Haynes, activist-pastor at Friendship West Baptist Church, who once referred to former Dallas mayor Laura Miller as “Laura Killer.” Haynes’ congregation — and 5,000 votes from the Amen Corner — is often credited with Craig Watkins’ slender victory in his first run for district attorney…
(AP Photo/The Beaumont Enterprise, Ron Jaap, File) (AP)
Dr. Claude Williams did not have the luxury of simply being a top-notch dentist.
From the U.S. Naval Training Center in Bainbridge, Md., where Williams integrated the Navy Dental Corps, to studying at Howard University, one of the most prestigious black institutions of higher learning in the world, Williams was a disciplined, straight-A student, eager to map out his next career move.
As a newly trained dentist, Williams could have chosen to go anywhere in America and establish a practice. But his heart was still back home in Texas, where he dreamed of having an impact on general dentistry and on the people he loved most.
By 1965, Williams and his wife, Helen, had three children and a new ranch home they had designed in Marshall, not far from Jefferson, where he grew up. The doctor’s thriving practice was soon legendary as word spread that black folks had someone who would not only take care of their dental hygiene, but do it with intelligence, professionalism, respect and integrity.
Life was good.
But Texas was going to need more from Claude Williams…