Aug 25, 2022 - News

Dallas acknowledges racist history with racial equity resolution

A photo of five Black women pointing to a segregation sign.

A passenger points to one of the segregation signs removed from all Dallas Transit Company buses in 1956. Photo: Getty Images

Dallas has approved a resolution acknowledging the city's racist past and promising to invest in solutions to make all communities equitable.

Why it matters: People of color in Dallas have a shorter life expectancy, earn less than the city's white residents and are less likely to own a home.

  • The plan aims to shrink that gap.

The big picture: The racial equity plan calls for increasing loan opportunities for minority-owned businesses, eliminating industrial zoning in residential neighborhoods, spreading affordable housing throughout the city and improving sidewalks in southern Dallas ZIP codes with poor infrastructure.

Yes, but: Cara Mendelsohn was the only council member to vote against adopting the plan, saying the city should already be providing the functions promised in the resolution and council should only commit to subsidizing development in southern Dallas.

Flashback: In 1916, Dallas was the first Texas city to impose housing segregation by race.

  • In 1946, the Underwriting Manual of the Federal Housing Administration recommended Black and white neighborhoods be separated by highways.
  • In 1956, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling banned public transit segregation. The decision was celebrated in Dallas, as seen in the picture above.

What's next: This year's Big D Reads book is "The Accommodation," which details the bombings at Black homes and the city's attempt to desegregate in the 1950s and 1960s.

  • The reading launch event starts at 10am Sept. 1 with a poem by the city's first poet laureate and remarks from the book's author, Jim Schutze.
  • The Dallas Public Library will have an exhibit on the local Civil Rights Movement at the central location throughout September.

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