Dr. J. Ester Davis
Several years ago, Dallas County Commissioners recognized and commended the Hamilton Park Community for preserving their historic “living” legacy. Thomas Jefferson, President of the Hamilton Park Civic League, and a resident for 59 years, accepted the resolution in open court with other outstanding residents attending. Hamilton Park is the first African American development in the City of Dallas. It is still viable today due solely to community leadership, raw pride, the first homeowners and their will to preserve their ownership heritage. A resolution was adopted, presented and signed by the county judge and commissioners. Hamilton Park Community is back in the news again this year as a proposed recipient of a Texas Historic marker. WOW!!!
I think a little bit of Hamilton Park resides in all African Americans. The resolution captures the essential fortitude and says it best. The resolution appropriately addresses the name; “The Hamilton Park Community is named for Dr. Richard T. Hamilton, a physician and African American civic leader. The community was dedicated in October 1953 and formally opened in May, 1954. By 1961, Hamilton Park was completed with 742 single-family dwellings, shopping center, churches, a park with a playground, swimming pool, tennis court and baseball diamond”.
The initial purchase was a 233 acre site for an African American middle class community. At this time in our history African Americans could not purchase land in certain parts of American cities. That was the case in North Dallas. The Dallas County Resolution highlights their courage and vision by stating: “These determined African American men and women, some of whom were returning to Dallas having bravely served their country during World War II, ventured to North Dallas to purchase land and nurture a family-oriented community of two-parent households, with shared values, morals and traditions (a marriage certificate was required to purchase a home in Hamilton Park)”. Most amazing, which is not in the resolution is a reflection, filled with pride, from a devoted community member, who grew up in the community that there were on defaults on mortgages in this entire community.
Paragraph Five of the resolution says “Hamilton Park has been a jewel in North Dallas for nearly 60 years. Hamilton Park is known as a quiet, stable and responsible area with dedicated professionals, educators, clergyman, business owners, entertainers, scholars and blue collars workers. It has enriched this historic community through partnerships and collaborations with several non-profits, private corporations, and with the support of the Dallas Police Department to provide a safe community”.
And finally the resolution concludes with the future; “In these changing times, the new generations guided by the teachings of their parents and mentors, continue to serve in a variety of community and civic roles throughout Dallas County and the world”.
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