Black Dallas — 1973
by Paula Bosse
by Paula Bosse
The G. William Jones Film and Video Collection at SMU is the gift that keeps on giving (see their YouTube channel here). In addition to their vast non-Dallas-history holdings, they are the repository of the WFAA news film archives, which is an incredible collection of local news segments from Channel 8. And now they’ve begun digitizing and uploading film from KERA-Channel 13. There are all sorts of clips posted on the YouTube channel so far — I really, really loved the Blackie Sherrod profile — and I’m not even a sports fan! My guess is that a lot of it comes from the legendary local news show Newsroom, including the one I’m writing about here.
This story from 1973 was about a recent increase in crime in the Black neighborhoods of South Dallas and State-Thomas/Hall Street. Crime stories are pretty much the same decade in and decade out, but this piece is great because of the almost 8 full minutes of footage showing parts of town that the media largely ignored (ignores). I haven’t seen most of these areas as they existed when this piece was shot — many of these buildings don’t exist at all anymore. A couple of these places are “famous,” most are not. But this is just great. (Scroll to the bottom of the post for places and addresses seen in the film.)
I was particularly excited to see the exterior of the Ascot Room, which I wrote about in the Flashback Dallas post “1710 Hall: The Rose Room/The Empire Room/The Ascot Room — 1942-1975” — it was an important music club, but I had been unable to find any images of its exterior. Until now! Granted, it’s looking a bit long in the tooth in 1973, but this was so cool to see!
Ross Avenue Motel (3629 Ross) — see what it looked like new here
Very cool! Thanks, SMU!
Here are some of the places seen in the film, with addresses (if I could find them), in the order they appear (several places make more than one appearance):
- Pussy Cat Lounge: 3410 Forest Avenue (now MLK Blvd.)
- Elite Theater (sign): 2720/2722 Forest Ave. (closed; originally the White Theater, which opened in 1934)
- Blazer Inn: 2722 Forest (in the old theater)
- A & H Barber Shop, Recreation, Pool: 2724 Forest
- Royal Cafe: 2726 Forest
- Royal Barber Shop: 1813 Hall
- Soul Shop
- Hall’s Hotel: 1809 1/2 Hall
- Corner of Hall & Roseland
- Busy Bee Cafe: 1612 Hall
- Red Door
- Black Gail’s Domino Parlor: 1802 Hall
- Congo Club: 1801 Hall (at Roseland)
- Ascot Room: 1710 Hall (at Ross)
- East Texas Bar-B-Q (listed in directories as East Texan Barbecue): 2311 Hall
- Mary’s Place
- Bill & Bess’ Cafe
- Watson’s Cafeteria: 1715 Hall
- Jim’s Liquor: 1713 Hall
- Alvacado Inn: 1726 Hall
- Stewart Motors: 3509 Ross
- Vacation Motors: 3623 Ross
- Ross Avenue Motel: 3629 Ross
- 1600 block of Hall, looking toward Ross
- Your Thrift Shop: 1622 Hall (warehouse), 3302 Ross
- Forest Avenue Store: 2716-A Forest
- Hooper’s Jeweler: 2720 Forest
- Front of old Elite Theater, then the Blazer Inn: 2722 Forest
- 2700 block of South Blvd. shows homes at 2707 South Blvd. and 2711 South Blvd.
- Liberty Bail Bond Service: 1611 Hall (Theodore Greer, bondsman)
- Blue Lantern Cafe: 1609 Hall
- Dallas Police Substation: Bexar and Municipal streets
Sources & Notes
All images are screenshots from the YouTube video “KERA Report On Crime In Dallas — June 1973,” from the KERA Collection, G. William Jones Film and Video Collection, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University.
Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.