Community History Harvest at the Dallas West Branch Library

Residents of West Dallas are invited to join us on Saturday, April 27th at the Dallas West Branch Library from 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm for a community history harvest. This will be the first event in our collaboration with the Dallas Public Library to further the digitization and oral history aspects of the Neighborhood Stories program.

Folks from across the area are invited to share photos, documents, and oral histories about their community, to be recorded and digitized for the Dallas Public Library’s public collection. Participants will also receive digital copies of their photos and documents, preserving these important artifacts for future generations to learn from.

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In consideration of time, we ask that residents bring up to five artifacts to be digitized. Examples of items to bring include:

  • Family or school photos

  • Yearbooks

  • Menus from local restaurants

  • Property surveys or maps

  • Church programs

We are looking forward to learning from and with the residents of West Dallas’s neighborhoods about the local history and how their communities experienced change during the Civil Rights period and beyond. The topics to be explored include the role of city planning, development, and school desegregation with the ultimate goal of understanding how historic inequities have shaped the communities we see today. The collective neighborhood history gathered from the archival event, interviews with community members, and our research about the area will culminate in an exhibition at the Dallas West Branch Library.

[bc] encourages any individuals and organizations who are interested in participating in this effort to reach out to Lizzie MacWillie, Associate Director, who will lead the project. Stay tuned for future updates on the details of this digitization event.

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This project has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.



[bc] Receives Common Heritage Grant from the NEH

We are excited to announce that we have been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to partner with the Dallas Public Library for a new project which will further the digitization and oral history aspects of the Neighborhood Stories program through events and exhibitions in the neighborhoods served by the Library’s Polk-Wisdom, Dallas West, and Martin Luther King Jr. Branches.

This collaboration builds off of several years of work by [bc] to collect and preserve Dallas’s local histories as they relate to changes in the physical and cultural form of the city. Through oral histories and physical artifacts like photos and documents, the project will document how these changes have had an impact on Dallas’s historic communities of color and how residents experienced cultural and demographic shifts in their neighborhoods during the Civil Rights period and beyond.

Topics to be explored include city planning, development, and school desegregation. Ultimately, [bc] hopes to advance a greater understanding of the way in which historical inequities have had a role in shaping the communities we see today. Given various efforts currently taking place across the city to better understand issues of racial equity and how future development may impact vulnerable communities, the project will leverage this momentum to engage Dallasites in a re-examination of local histories.

Project activities will begin in 2019. [bc] encourages any individuals and organizations who are interested in participating in this effort to reach out to Lizzie MacWillie, Associate Director, who will lead the project.

Stay tuned for future updates on the dates and locations of digitization events in these three locales.

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This project has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.




Neighborhood Stories Kickoff in Elm Thicket

[bc] and the City of Dallas Planning and Urban Design Department have joined forces to bring Neighborhood Stories to the historic neighborhood, Elm Thicket, a Northwest Dallas community located near the Dallas Love Field airport. On Saturday, February 4th, residents and community leaders gathered at the K.B. Polk Recreation Center to kick off the much anticipated project. The event encouraged residents to share memorable stories, impactful historic events, and most of all, to celebrate their culture, identity, and history. Among some of the residents who shared their story was Mr. Thomas Buffin, a current resident who has lived in the neighborhood for over 75 years. Some of the events remembered included the geographical evolution of the neighborhood, the birth of local churches and businesses, the creation of the Dallas Love Field airport, and the desegregation of public schools. 

Stay connected with us as we uncover the untold story of Elm Thicket, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!

Bonton + Ideal Released

Learn more about Bonton + Ideal and Neighborhood Stories.

The newest film in our Neighborhood Stories series, Bonton + Ideal, was released free online today. The film focuses on these two South Dallas neighborhoods, and illustrates the many policies enacted that aimed to isolate the community socially, economically, environmentally, and physically.

Told through the eyes of long-term residents, Bonton + Ideal tells the history of two neighborhoods thathave been tied together since their initial development during the era of segregation. Built on land in the Trinity River’s floodplain, the neighborhoods have battled the effects of massive flooding, concentrated public housing projects, and racially-motivated bombing campaigns.

The film’s director, Craig Weflen, says, “these stories give Dallas residents a chance to examine the consequences of flawed policies. Beyond Dallas, the challenges faced by Bonton and Ideal are the same sorts of challenges that have been faced by other neighborhoods across the American South. This is an opportune time to reflect on the way we’ve built our cities, and ask ourselves whether these conscious decisions have resulted in just, equitable living environments.”

Bonton + Ideal premiered on KERA’s Frame of Mind series in December 2015, and has screened publicly across Dallas, and nationally, over the past five months.

Bonton + Ideal is “a must-watch for anyone who cares about the history of Dallas and how it developed as two cities: One for whites, another for blacks,” says Mike Drago of the Dallas Morning News, adding that, “the context of such overt hostility is prerequisite to getting your head around all the neglect and misery that followed.”

Bonton + Ideal Trailer

We're excited to share the trailer for our newest Neighborhood Stories film Bonton + Ideal! The film premiered on December 24th, 2015 on KERA's Frame of Mind program. Since the premiere, the film has been accepted to the Big Muddy Film Festival in Carbondale, Illinois, and the Interurban Film Festival in Denison, Texas. Watch the film's official website for more details about local screenings as they become available. Later this spring, the film will be published online for free - be sure to keep your eyes open!


What people are saying:

Deepwood & Earth Day

Last night we were honored to screen Out of Deepwood in the Angelika Film Center as part of a partnership with Earth Day TX and TEDxSMU. We had great discussions with folks during a reception preceding the film, talking about our Know Your Neighborhood & Draw Your Neighborhood tools and collecting Neighborhood Stories interviews - keep your eyes out for those in the coming weeks!

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POP Project Guides

Ever thought about doing an oral history project in your neighborhood? Want to learn more about why we think Little Free Libraries / Libros Libres is one of [bc]’s most important neighborhood planning tools? Check out the first two buildingcommunityWORKSHOP Project Guides, a series of short publications that describe the what, how, and why of our People Organizing Place projects.

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Sharing the Deepwood Story

Learn more about Neighborhood Stories, and visit the film's website.

It’s been an awesome few months for Out of Deepwood! Since the community sneak preview at the Trinity River Audubon Center in September, the film has played in several film festivals. On October 15, Out of Deepwood premiered to the general public as part of Dallas VideoFest 27, as part of a block of films hosted by the South Dallas Cultural Center, which included 50 Years, The New South Dallas, and Dawn. This was a great experience for us, giving us an opportunity to bring this story to a wider audience, while still focused on southern Dallas.

Following Dallas VideoFest, we released the film free online, and were excited to receive an Award of Merit from the Best Shorts Competition. Even more exciting, we had the opportunity to share this story across the nation in February, as we were accepted to the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Missoula, Montana, and the Big Muddy Film Festival at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

DVDs of the film are currently for sale at the Trinity River Audubon Center for around $5. We are committed to providing this film for all who want to see it, so the DVDs are being sold at-cost for those who would like a physical copy of the film.

Currently, we are participating in the Audience Awards, an online film competition that awards prizes based on the votes that a film receives. Be sure to vote for us over the next few days, but also take the opportunity to view some of the other great work featured in the competition!

We look forward to continuing to share this story as an example of neighborhood activism leading to real, positive change.


 

Out of Deepwood Film

Learn more about Neighborhood Stories and POP Dallas.

Out of Deepwood, our first Neighborhood Stories film of its scale, has been released online for free. The film tells the story of the Trinity River Audubon Center, which today is a place of discovery, education, and tranquility. Yet this location, adjacent to a middle-class African-American neighborhood, has not always been so peaceful. For a quarter century, the City of Dallas turned a blind eye to over two million cubic yards of trash being dumped illegally. This is the story of the precedent-setting environmental law case Cox v. City of Dallas, Texas, the reclamation of land, and a neighborhood’s fight for justice.

The goal of our Neighborhood Stories initiative is to strengthen awareness of our city, celebrate the diverse places that give it character and texture, and create a platform for active dialogue about its history and future. The story of the Deepwood neighbors is a prime example of what can happen when a neighborhood isn’t given the attention it needs and how difficult it is for some neighborhoods to get this attention. The Deepwood neighbors protested for 25 years, but nothing changed until the courts got involved. Deepwood points to the need to fight against a “it’s not my neighborhood” attitude, as the results - social, economic, environmental, legal - can be devastating for an entire city. While an extreme example, Deepwood is a cautionary tale for any city and its citizens.

Check out what other people are saying, and learn more about the film:

Deepwood Panel

Learn more about Neighborhood Stories and POP Dallas.

On September 19, 2014, Out of Deepwood was screened for residents of the surrounding community at a sneak preview event, hosted at the Trinity River Audubon Center. After the screening, a panel discussion was held with key players from the film, including Shirley Davidson, Mike Daniel, Jan Sanders, Ben Jones, and producer Craig Weflen. The panel was moderated by Shawn P. Williams.

Out of Deepwood Trailer

Read more about Neighborhood Stories and POP.

After months in production, Out of Deepwood is finished! This is the first Neighborhood Stories film of its scale, and we're excited to share the film with everyone. First, however, the neighborhood deserves a sneak peek! The film will be screened for the Shady Hills/Pleasant Grove community on September 19th at the Trinity River Audubon Center. Check out the Trailer below.

Neighborhood Stories SEED Awards Honorable Mention

Read more about Neighborhood Stories and POP Dallas.

POP Neighborhood Stories has been recognized as a 2014 SEED Award for Excellence in Public Interest Design Honorable Mention! Winning projects span the globe from Peru, Brazil, India, Israel, Mozambique, China, and the United States. We are very proud to have our work recognized along side so many great projects.

2014 SEED Award Winners: Comunidad Ecologica Saludable, Puenta Piedra, Lima Peru Can City, Sao Paulo, Brazil The Potty Project, New Delhi, India Towns Association for Environmental Quality Green Building Headquarters, Sakhnin, Israel Community How-To-Guides, Detroit, Michigan, United States Manica Football for Hope Centre, Bairro Vumba, Manica, Mozambique

Honorable Mentions:Dime Kam Minority Cultural Heritage in China, Dimen, China Walk [Your City], Raleigh, North Carolina, United States POP Neighborhood Stories, Dallas, Texas, United States

The fourth annual SEED Awards received applications from 28 countries. The SEED Award recognizes designs that address the critical social, economic, and environmental issues in the world. Winners were selected by an esteemed jury based on the following criteria: Effectiveness, Excellence, Inclusiveness, Impactful, and Systemic and Participatory. The jury members were: William Morrish, Jury Chair, of Parsons The New School of Design; Cara McCarty of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum; Andres Lepik of the Architekturmuseum der Technischen Universität München; Esther Yang of the Max Bond Center for Design for the Just City; and Christopher London of The New School.

bcWORKSHOP's past SEED Award winning projects include the Congo Street Initiative (Winner, 2011); Gurley Place at Jubilee Park (Honorable Mention, 2012); and Colonias Planning & Implementation (Honorable Mention, 2013).

POP Neighborhood Stories a Place by Design Finalist!

The POP Neighborhood Stories initiative was recognized this past week by SXSW Eco in Austin, TX as one of 15 finalists from 75 applicants in the Place by Design competition. The competition honors good design “having the ability to reflect a community’s culture and values and compels people to engage with their everyday surroundings.” See all of the Place by Design finalists here, and congratulations to the four great winning projects: Ballroom Luminoso, From Blight to BrightINSITU, and The Looper.

Over the last year, POP Neighborhood Stories has hosted six celebratory events in the Dallas neighborhoods of La BajadaDolphin HeightsWynnewood NorthTenth StreetMount Auburn, and the Dallas Arts District, reaching over 1,400 total participants. Each event temporarily transforms space in historic neighborhoods into a celebration of each neighborhood's unique culture and development and provides a platform for dialogue about the history and future. This series of events was made possible in part by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

We would like to extend our thanks to all of the community members and volunteers that participated in and contributed to these efforts and who make this work possible.

Mount Auburn Stories

Read more about Neighborhood Stories and POP Dallas.

On Saturday, August 17th Neighborhood Stories celebrated the community of Mount Auburn. Since the start of its development in 1907, Mount Auburn has remained a stronghold for East Dallas’ working class residents who have consistently campaigned for the retention and betterment of single-family homes, streets, and parks. Culturally and economically diverse, Mount Auburn’s population has gradually shifted from predominantly Anglo to predominantly Latino. This shift has brought change to the historic neighborhood, with renovated homes and businesses expressing the culture of its current residents. Not immune to inner city problems, the neighborhood has rebounded from the city’s suburban migration in the 1960s and the subsequent increase in crime in order to emerge as a stable, active neighborhood. Though not a historic or conservation district itself, Mount Auburn has certainly benefitted from city ordinances that protect the character of the surrounding areas; however, its success can mainly be attributed to its residents. The strong advocates of years past established, protected, and improved the parks, schools, and quiet connectivity that lend Mount Auburn the peaceful vibrancy it enjoys today.

As part of the Neighborhood Stories series, activities included a bike/walk paseo through the neighborhood, exploring exhibit stations that showcase the physical and social history of Mount Auburn; a community meal with food from local residents; and a sunset screening of the neighborhood film. 

Watch the Mount Auburn film.

Tenth Street Stories

Read more about Neighborhood Stories and POP Dallas.

On Saturday evening, June 15th, the bcWORKSHOP team got together with the Tenth Street community for the fourth Neighborhood Stories event. We partnered with two churches founded in the neighborhood, Greater El Bethel Missionary Baptist and Elizabeth Chapel CME Church, for a choir performance. Neighbors and visitors enjoyed a potluck BBQ dinner, followed by a sunset screening of a film featuring interviews with current and former residents and those who have been involved with the neighborhood over the years. A gallery exhibit and booklet communicated Tenth Street's rich history and strong culture through photos and maps. Approximately 150 people attended the event, sharing their memories and dreams for the neighborhood on an interactive map and a rope line that stretched across the site.

Watch the Tenth Street film.