By Dr. J. Ester Davis
Landmark Commissions really do what? What is the difference between landmark and historic?
Or the word preservation? I wonder about historic preservation versus demolition permits versus maintenance, upgrading, progress of a neighborhood. Please pay attention folks. The real concern . . . is it a form of cultural sabotage? Now hold that point. Are the residents of Southern Dallas who are still in their homes, occupied by the first generation or subsequent ones, being treated with the due process that represents the future? The future of black homeownership in America? My opinion sense wonder is clear. Are the Landmark Commission and the endless post cards received in the mail by certain zip codes conjoined at the hip, head and backbone in the sale/promotion of Southern Dallas around the world? A lot to unpack here. Let’s start this week with the Landmark Commission.
The basic idea creating historic districts and the other names that followed was to preserve the character and identify of an area for the future. The Hamilton Park Historic District in North Dallas is well documented. It was an area set aside for African Americans soldiers returning home from World War II. It has been reserved not so much by commissions, but by the determined civic- minded occupants and their descendants. History further documents that other areas of the City of Dallas have/had the same historic value and identify. For instance, Forest Avenue Hospital, built by black doctors in Southern Dallas because they could not practice medicine in the white hospitals still resonates deep in the hearts of African American Dallasites.
According to some voting neighbors and neighborhoods, especially in Southern Dallas, the Landmark Commission for the City of Dallas has a checkered past. It operates as a bogus, pseudo, quasi judicial body belaboring the review process for installation of gutters, solar panels, windows and door screens of some homes in the Southern Dallas area, while the rest of us receive postcards in the mail to buy our homes. . . because you are a ‘”good candidate for our acquisition needs”. Or my favorite postcard:
“ . . . would like a quick, no hassle sale at a FAIR price. . .”
Think about this. The Landmark Commission requires an application for alterations to existing historic landmark properties. Any home that qualifies for both landmark and historic, not to mention preservation of. . . is going to need regular maintenance. . . which dictates substantial labor cost not to mention a litany of bureaucracy partners from appropriation-ness to inspection staff to a consensus definition of enhanced and perpetuated structure.
Questions for the Landmark Commission contact your city council person or 214.671.9260. We are interested in the number of postcard sale notices you are receiving in the mail.
Ester Davis, Writer. Producer. Speaker.