S.M. Wright, John B. Hood and R.L. Thornton

February 7, 2016 § Leave a comment

Surrounded by plenty of slaves pre-Civil War and a rush of immigrants early 1900s, the hooded men felt at home where ever they stepped foot. They especially felt at home throughout Dallas County, home of the largest number of KKK members in the 1920s. But by the time the mid-1930s rolled around, being a Klansmen wasn’t too popular. Like an old millionaire moving to Miami, politics is where klansmen made their mark after retirement.

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A gentlemen picks up and returns Addie Frazier’s KKK hood after a klan march in 1979. DMN staff photo by David Woo.

In government is where klansman R.L. Thornton Sr., former mayor of Dallas in the ’50s and president of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce in the 1930s, decided to wane his influence. Thornton, a Democrat, mason and Methodist, was one of the founders of the Dallas Citizen Council, a good ole boys organization that would go on to run Dallas government (not politics) for another 70 years. Outside of daunting the hood, former mayor Thornton was a major philanthropist.

“Mr. Dallas” died in 1964 then the city changed their freeway name after him for his contributions to the city. And an elementary school in south east Oak Cliff that eventually feeds into SOC High School, the state of the art facility where students walked out to protest building conditions in December. Minor stuff, you know, like holes in roofs and mold and mildew everywhere and freezing cold classrooms. The problem exacerbated in December when the city suffered from large amounts of rain.

Another individual who was honored in Dallas was Confederate war hero John B, Hood. Hood quickly became a general during the Civil War; after the South’s defeat, Hood turned to the insurance industry and became a cotton merchant in New Orleans where he would die. Dallas built a middle school named after him in 1955.

The students at John B. Hood Middle School voted to rename their school to something more – sensible? But like Thornton Sr., Hood did a lot of good post-Civil War and eventually came to his senses that respect and kindness and treating someone like a human shouldn’t be contingent on their skin color; the blood and guts of slaves weren’t quite enough for Mr. Hood. The kids didn’t care and approved the name change on Thursday. We await the school board trustees approval vote.

(Back to the school name for a second. Was it done out spite by Confederate sympathizers spite for losing the War? For comedy? Sick humor, for sure. Slave masters gave their slaves cruel names like Le Roi, or “king” in French, what later became LeeRoy.)

Mr. Hood, like Thornton Sr., at one point saw the light. Was it from wiping slaves’ blood from his blade did Hood come to the realization? Did Thornton Sr. see the life-like terror in a black child’s eye before burning a cross? We may never know. But we do know that these thugs were, in fact, forgiven and rewarded with monuments and schools and the likes. How is it that one that group of people can be forgiven and rewarded for century long atrocities but the other has to walk tight ropes while wearing suits to avoid instant death? Why is it that one group has to forget everything that happened in the past and be constantly reminded today is a new day?

We gave you black history month, quit complaining!

To have your history included in curriculum by DEFAULT reeks privilege. “It’s white and it’s the others,” an interviewer once told me. He was right.

img-sm-wrightLastly, it is important to note that on this day in 1927, Dr. S.M. Wright was born. He was a member of the Bon Ton community and later received a doctorate from Bishop College. He died in 1994. To honor his legacy, then Governor George W. Bush changed the name of Highway 175 to the S.M. Wright Freeway in 1995.

#UntoldHistoryofDallas

What project?

January 26, 2016 § Leave a comment

For my current project, I am republishing a book that came out before I was born. The second edition came out my birth year.

This project is almost a year overdue and should have been completed in February, just in time for Black History Month. Instead the current timeline is to be published by July. Marketing starts in March. « Read the rest of this entry »

What post – election means for police reform

June 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

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Casey Thomas of District 3, Carolyn Arnold of District 4, Tiffini Young of District 7 and Erik Wilson of District 8 are the new representatives for south Dallas in city hall. Thomas and the latter two won their run offs last week. « Read the rest of this entry »

Jason Harrison’s death was justified

April 27, 2015 § 2 Comments

Lady justice and the city officials agree

Last week, the nation’s focus was on the new Attorney General nomination of Loretta Lynch, the country’s first Black woman in the position. Another event, closer to home, that occurred last week was the grand jury’s decision to not indict the two officers who killed Jason Harrison in June of last year. Prior to the grand jury decision, DPD’s internal investigation also decided the officers’ actions were warranted and within policy–the answer to my question two weeks ago.

Now that the proceedings and investigations are complete, public officials like Chief Brown, who earlier said the officer’s statement corroborated with the video, Mayor Rawlings, who also said he’ll remain silent until the grand jury concludes, and the newly-elected DA Hawk, can comment on the case. This incident is the state’s first officer involved shooting caught on body camera and the city is quiet.

Mute politicians, an odd occurrence indeed.

Upon second thought, perhaps it isn’t odd at all. All three could be silent because they see no issue with the officers’ handling of the case. Or they are in cahoots, something not abnormal for a District Attorney, Police Chief and Mayor. Politics–the art of quid pro quo–is a team sport, people.

Harrison’s case is a good study to improve policy when responding to a mental disturbance case, the Use of Deadly Force Policy, officer’s guide of when to use deadly force (believe or not, a guide exists, and the internal affairs investigation. If the reader can recall, Bobby Bennett was another mentally ill man killed by DPD last year. Fortunately, the neighbor’s camera caught that encounter. That officer, Cardan Spencer, was terminated and indicted for aggravated assault.

Dallas, the southern city it is, has a way of being slow–or controlled. Real slow. Slower than we walk and talk. That’s the stereotype anyway. While Baltimore displayed and expressed their emotions that same Friday over Freddie Gray, and still are currently at this moment, Dallas had no reaction to another mentally ill man killed on camera and the grand jury’s no bill decision. Friday, the 24th, that stereotype was nowhere to be found when a group of about 15 people crowded outside of Hawk’s former home Friday evening. A CBS 11 reporter was present and the neighbors stood outside, also, anticipating what would happen next. We were pissed. Anything could have happened. Another station was there too.

Sean Harrison, brother of Jason, was there and said he felt deceived by the city and jury’s decision. Such behavior, he said, wasn’t new to the country or city, and that “nothing is the new N word” for Black people. Here is the interview. It’s worth the watch.

Thursday was a beautiful day. Dallas’ weather is fickle; Friday the skies were gray, a reflection of the initial reaction to the news. A somber day, sun peaking through the clouds, like lady justice peaking around her blindfolds.

Dallas is going through Accommodation 2.0, the old-new phase of White privilege, Black public official silence, and business as usual resource shifting. Except the question here is not desegregation or where to place the Negros. Still a lot of money is at stake, the Trinity River is still the center of conversation, and Blacks are an afterthought, an issue to be dealt with, a thorn in the side to be removed by the so-called Black leaders and officials. Last Tuesday on the same day and time as “Police Brutality and Your Vote” event in East Dallas, three days before Harrison’s killers were no billed, Big D Reads hosted “Dallas’ Gritty History: A Conversation on Race” at the Palladium Ballroom featuring Jim Schutze, author of the Accommodation, and Michael Philips, author of White Metropolis.

About 14 Dallas city council candidates, almost half of the number invited, and maybe 100 people showed up to the former event centered on action concerning police reform. Other candidates, let’s say they were either pre-occupied or ignored the event and the police reform questionnaire sent out. The questionnaire asked for candidate’s stance on policies such as the DPD’s 72 hour review rule and independent investigations.

The latter event was moved to the Palladium Ballroom because of the large demand. Man has a taste to indulge in history and conversation. The only thing missing was the whiskey.

An accommodation it may be, DA Hawk can still bring the officers to trial if she feels there is a case. Too much conversation, dialogue and interfacing is going on. The time now is only for action. Come out this Thursday and let Hawk know how you feel.

UPDATE: The meeting was rescheduled to May 14th at 6:00 p.m.11164142_10206647545857496_1413611559_nDo you agree or disagree that Harrison’s death was justified? Here is the video.

Was the Jason Harrison shooting by Dallas police justified?

March 18, 2015 § 1 Comment

Was the Jason Harrison shooting by Dallas police authorized per Use of Deadly Force Policy?

For the shooting video, click here. The department criminal investigation is complete and the case is currently under the DA’s control, who will send it to a grand jury. Internal Affairs also reviews the case to determine if the officers’ actions followed policy. « Read the rest of this entry »

Paul Quinn College’s new Urban College Model

February 20, 2015 § 3 Comments

Of all the problems with higher education, Paul Quinn College President Michael Sorrell doesn’t talk much about them. President Sorrell, better known as “Prez”, is more interested in changing the status quo than talking about what can’t be done. In short, Prez is a solution-seeker. « Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome, Susan Hawk; Dallas DA’s expectations

January 28, 2015 § Leave a comment

Michael Ainsworth/DMN Staff Photographer

If you are a student of the legal/criminal justice system like myself or became a legal expert after high profile grand jury cases involving police shooting black men, then this may be of interest.

« Read the rest of this entry »

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