The WPA Dallas Guide and History Page: 291
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THE NEGRO IN DALLAS:
75 YEARS AFTER
Dallas ranks twenty-second among American cities in Negro population (1938),
with approximately 43,000 members of the race. These form the largest non-Anglo-
Saxon group and comprise an important element in the economic life of the
Here as in other large American cities the existing Negro sections grew up
through the natural tendency of these people to live among their kind. While there
is no formal segregation, economic conditions and environment combine with
racial affinity to clearly mark the areas of Negro occupancy from those of the
From his advent in the community the chief contribution of the Negro to the
economic life of Dallas has been labor. Slaves brought into the county when cotton
became a principal crop in the early 1850s continued their functions as workers
after emancipation, and their children and their children's children, though enjoy-
ing constantly increasing advantages of education and economic opportunity, for
the most part still are manual workers.
Negro laborers who helped to build the first railroad into Dallas remained as
citizens. Others came, following the white man westward in pursuit of livelihood in
the new country of Texas. This last group of Negroes came principally from Louisi-
ana, while others of today's Negro residents trace their ancestors to Mississippi,
Alabama, Georgia, and a few to Tennessee and the Carolinas.
Today Negroes in Dallas find employment chiefly in industrial plants, in com-
mon labor, as chauffeurs, porters, janitors, household servants, waiters, and ele-
vator operators. The professions are represented by physicians, dentists, lawyers,
and teachers. Many Negroes are merchants, most of them engaged in the grocery
trade; drugstores are operated by and for Negroes; a box factory and two cosmetic
laboratories are operated by members of the race; and a number are engaged in
Negroes operate two old-line life insurance companies in the city, while a num-
ber of other insurance companies give employment to about 400 persons in clerical
and sales work. Three medical and surgical clinics are staffed by Negroes, and the
city supports three weekly Negro newspapers.
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Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the City of Dallas. The WPA Dallas Guide and History, book, 1992; Dallas, Texas. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28336/m1/315/: accessed June 29, 2022), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.