They’re Coming for Hamilton Park (again)

The Dallas Morning News has an article talking about a group that wants to turn Hamilton Park into one of these so-called urban lifestyle centers (link).

I have written about this topic in the past (link). I have family that are original homeowners in Hamilton Park.

I rarely talk race on this site, but why is it that other neighborhoods can be preserved as Historical Districts but Black neighborhoods are constantly looked at as profit centers?

I have learned about the history of my Mother in-law’s family. Her family lived on Spurling Road and attended church near Preston and Spring Valley. We were just looking at some old pictures on Sunday afternoon, some of which were taken inside their church. She talked about how my grandmother in-law called the City of Dallas and told them she would not be paying any taxes since the City wouldn’t even pave the streets in that neighborhood. Decades ago, it was a predominantly Black area. Now it’s a high-income neighborhood.

This method of operation is not new.

My father-in-law lived in West Dallas in the 1940s. Some people called it Eagle Ford. It was near Westmoreland & Singleton. As mentioned in the Dallas Observer in 1998 (link), the area was advertised as “colored lots.” Yesterday he told us how he, his father, and his brothers built their house from scrap lumber after World War II. You see, the war had ended and the scrap was from barracks that were no longer needed. His family literally pulled the nails from each piece of wood. They piecemealed sheet rock and other building materials to make a home.

City leaders put people in a neighborhood with no sewer, no water, and no plan. My father in law talked about buying water by the 50-gallon barrel and saving to buy a septic tank. He talked about how his father had to buy his own curb ramp because there was a ditch right in front of their house.

That’s what the City of Dallas used to call progress. Of course, when housing projects were all the rage everyone was forced off of their land. My father in law’s family moved their house to South Dallas where it still stands today.

It gets no realer than that.

If anyone thinks that Hamilton Park will be had for pennies on the dollar, they’re wrong. We’re familiar of all the various tactics used to “encourage” people to move off of their land. I’m not talking about eminent domain, I’m talking about those other tactics. We’re going to be much smarter this time around.

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