History of African Americans in Dallas-Fort Worth

The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex has over one million African-American and the second largest metro population of African-Americans in Texas.[1]

In 2007, Black Enterprise magazine ranked Dallas as a "Top 10 city for African-Americans".[2]


In the mid-1800s lynchings of African Americans took place in Dealey Plaza.[3]

In the late 1800s there were over 11,000 black people in Dallas.[3]

In the 1990s the number of African-Americans making annual incomes of $100,000 or more (adjusted to $75,000 as of 1990, from the circa 2005 number) increased by 300%. Around 2005 increasing numbers of African-Americans moved to suburban communities in Dallas County.[4]

In 1995, Dallas elected its first black mayor, Ron Kirk.

The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex gained approximately 233,000 new African-Americans between 2000 and 2010. Second only behind Atlanta, Georgia during that time span.[5] According to the Brookings Institution, in years 2006-2010 the DFW area had 7,678 black people migrate into the area, giving it the fourth highest inward black migration of all U.S. metropolitan areas.[6]

In 2012 Jamie Thompson of D Magazine stated that Dallas "still suffers from an image problem among black professionals who perceive other cities—Atlanta; Chicago; Houston; or Washington, D.C.—as being more friendly to blacks."[6]

In 2019, Dallas elected its second black mayor, Eric Johnson.


In 1850 there were at least 207 black people in Dallas County, making up less than 10% of the county population.[3] Historically, the black community was strongly concentrated in the inner-city of Dallas and Fort Worth but that has slowly changed since the 1980s.[7]

In northern DFW suburbs, the black population rate has grown 178 percent since the 1990s. The strongest growth is in the southern suburbs, for example Cedar Hill was approximately 51.9 percent black in 2010, after a gain of more than 12,500 new black residents since the last decade.[8] The southern suburbs (DeSoto, Duncanville, Lancaster, Cedar Hill) have been noted as the core of the African-American middle class and upper middle class community in the metroplex.[5]

Stop Six is a historically black neighborhood in Fort Worth.

In 2005 Mansfield had 62 households of African-Americans with annual incomes of at least $100,000; there were none in 1990 with the equivalent ($75,000).[9] That same year, the median income of African-American households in Rowlett was higher than the overall median income for that city.[10]


In 1995, the city of Dallas elected its first black mayor Ron Kirk. He held office from 1995 to 2002. In 2019, Dallas elected its second black mayor, Eric Johnson. Dallas' Black Chamber of Commerce was established in 1926 and is the oldest in the United States.[11] Fort Worth and some surrounding cities also have a black chamber of commerce.


The Dallas Weekly is the largest African-American centric publication based in the region.[12] The Dallas Examiner is the other most widely circulated African-American centric publication based in the metroplex.[citation needed]

Other black newspapers include the Dallas edition of African-American News & Issues, Black Economic Times, Community Quest, The Dallas Post Tribune, LaVita News/The Black Voice in Arlington, Minority Business News, and Minority Opportunity News Gazette.[13]

The Dallas Express was formerly published in the city.


Primary and secondary schools[edit]

Segregation era[edit]

In the era before the 1960s racial integration of schools, Dallas Independent School District had five high schools for blacks: Booker T. Washington, Lincoln, James Madison,[14] and two others for a brief period: Franklin D. Roosevelt,[15] and L. G. Pinkston.[16] Other schools for black children included George Washington Carver Elementary School (in West Dallas), Benjamin Franklin Darrell Elementary School, Frederick Douglass Elementary School, Eagle Ford Elementary School, Joseph J. Rhoads Elementary School, H.S. Thompson Elementary School, Phyllis Wheatley Elementary School, and Colonial School.[15]

9th Ward School was the first secondary school for black children; its name was changed to Dallas Colored High School in 1893, and in 1927 the building was converted to B.F. Darrell Elementary School, named after a principal at Dallas Colored High. The former Dallas Colored transitioned into Booker T. Washington High School, which opened in 1922. Colored School No. 4 became Frederick Douglass Elementary School in 1902. In 1930 Phyllis Wheatley Elementary was built. In 1939 Lincoln High School, the second black high school, opened. Carver Elementary opened in 1954. In 1955, due to the increasing number of black students around Fair Park, the former Lagow Elementary School for white children was converted into the Joseph J. Rhoads Elementary School for black children; it was the first racially converted school in Dallas.[15] In 1956 the former Forest Avenue High School for whites was converted into Madison High for blacks.[17] Colonial School was converted into a school for black children in 1957. Roosevelt opened in 1963.[15]

The Catholic church operated St. Peter's Academy for black children in Dallas.[15]

Carrollton Colored School was the school for black children in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District in the segregation era.[15]


Circa 2005 increasing numbers of African-American students attended schools in the Best Southwest area. Wealthier African-American parents often moved to different school districts to get perceived better educations for their children.[18] Around that same time period increasing numbers of wealthier African-American families were sending their children to private schools; in 2001 there were 5,400 black students in the region's private schools.[19]

From 2000 to 2010 the number of black students in Dallas ISD decreased by 20,000. In 2010 that was the lowest in the post-1965 history of DISD. One reason for the decline in the percentage of black students is the move of black people to suburbs; they did so due to a perception that public schools there have a higher quality than those in DISD, as well as general desires for higher quality housing and lower crime environments. Another reason was the growth in charter schools which take students who would otherwise attend DISD schools; in 2010 5,900 black students attending charter schools in the area lived in the DISD boundaries. Other reasons for the decline in the percentage of black students included a perception that DISD has moved its focus away from black students and towards Hispanic students, and the fact that many Hispanics have moved into traditionally black neighborhoods.[20]

Colleges and universities[edit]

Paul Quinn College is the only HBCU in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

In 1961, Bishop College, a black college in Marshall, moved to Dallas but was closed in 1988.[15]

In the late 1940s Texas Vocational School provided former black soldiers vocational courses.[15]


The metroplex is also home to one of the largest HBCU football classics in the country with the State Fair Classic.

Notable African-American cultural point of interest includes the African-American Museum of Dallas in Fair Park and the Dallas Black Dance Theatre and The Black Academy of Arts and Letters both in downtown.[11] In Fort Worth, The Lenora Roll Heritage Center Museum and National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum houses history highlighting African-American culture primarily in the North Texas region.[21] In Irving, the Jackie Townsell Bear Creek Heritage Center is a museum that tells the story of Bear Creek of West Irving, one of the oldest established black communities in North Texas.[22]

Dallas Black Restaurant Week promotes and celebrates some black owned restaurants in the DFW Metroplex.[23]

Dallas Black Giants and Dallas Green Monarchs were black baseball teams.

LGBT culture[edit]

Dallas Black Pride is a celebration event established by the metroplex's growing black gay community.

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX | Data USA". datausa.io.
  2. ^ "Top 10 CITIES FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS 2007 - Black Enterprise". www.blackenterprise.com.
  3. ^ a b c Allen, Leona; Joyce King (2018-02-23). "Do you know black history in Dallas?". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  4. ^ LaFleur, Jennifer (2005-06-25). "Black wealth blossoms in suburbs". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on 2007-01-12. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  5. ^ a b Greenblatt, Alan. "The New Black South". www.governing.com. Archived from the original on 2012-05-31.
  6. ^ a b Thompson, Jamie (May 2012). "Why Young Black Professionals Are Wary of Dallas". D Magazine. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  7. ^ Crawford, Selwyn and Michael E. Young. "Census shows black population expanding in Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs." The Dallas Morning News. February 27, 2011. Retrieved on August 5, 2016.
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ Crawford, Selwyn (2005-06-25). "MANSFIELD: Good schools, home value drew couple". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on 2007-01-12. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  10. ^ LaFleur, Jennifer (2005-06-25). "ROWLETT: City puts out welcome mat". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on 2007-01-12. Retrieved 2018-08-05.
  11. ^ a b [2][dead link]
  12. ^ "Dallas Weekly". Dallas Weekly.
  13. ^ "Leaders of black press optimistic". The Dallas Morning News. 2002-08-02. Archived from the original on 2002-08-11. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  14. ^ "Dallas' three original all-black high schools join forces for 50-year reunion". The Dallas Morning News. 2012-07-03. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h "African American Schools in Dallas." Marion Butts Collection, Dallas Public Library. Retrieved on August 3, 2018.
  16. ^ Hacker, Holly K. "Would a new Pinkston High really cost $130 million? Hard to say Archived 2015-11-20 at WebCite" (Archive). The Dallas Morning News. October 29, 2015. Retrieved on November 21, 2015. The attached contemporary article "School Begins 'Great Effort' in Education" describes it as a "Negro High School" (a school legally earmarked for black children).
  17. ^ Ragland, James (2012-10-25). "Old Forest Avenue High alumni celebrate Dallas school's heritage, look to the future". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  18. ^ Booth, Herb (2005-06-27). "Black elite faces school-choice dilemma". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on 2007-01-12. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  19. ^ Stewart, Toya Lynn (2005-06-27). "Parents picking private schools". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on 2007-01-12. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  20. ^ Hacker, Holly K.; Tawnell D. Hobbs (2010-06-09). "'Black flight' changing the makeup of Dallas schools". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on 2010-07-03. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  21. ^ "Black Historical and Genealogical Society". www.tarrantcountyblackhistory.org.
  22. ^ "Jackie Townsell Bear Creek Heritage Center | Irving, TX - Official Website". cityofirving.org.
  23. ^ "Restaurants".

External links[edit]