In observance of Black History Month, the Dallas Park and Recreation Department unveiled the South Dallas Community Historic Panels at Opportunity Park on Friday, February 24, 2017.
“The four new panels represent the history of the African America community in South Dallas from its early days, as shown by celebrated Dallas photographer R.C. Hickman,” said Willis Winters, Dallas Park and Recreation Department Director. “The ‘Our History’ cylinder structure includes four interpretive panels which focus on the early pioneers, neighborhoods, the schools, and businesses that made the African American community in Dallas.”
The neighborhoods panel highlights the old Forest Avenue Theater, the Forest Avenue Library, and includes a photo of former City Councilwoman Elsie Faye Heggins.
The high school panel features the first African American public high school, while the business panel showcases businesses that helped shape the community, including the Baccus 50-Minute Cleaners, the Hayden Store, Britton Icehouse and the South Dallas Funeral Home.
A final panel portrays early African American pioneers, men and women with grand dreams and enduring visions; people with undeterred spirits and eloquent voices; and the courage to plan, promote, fund and build so the community would grow and thrive.
“Suspended across the metal cylinder structure is the word “opportunity”and it’s meant to inspire those who visit Opportunity Park,” said Winters. “We hope this addition inspires the community to build on the great work that previous generations accomplished.”