The Dallas Freedmen Cemetery is one of the few remnants left of evidence of the vibrant town that once occupied, what is now known as the Uptown. Freedman’s town was settled in 1869 by African Americans who survived forced American enslavement. The areas that are now, Cityplace, the Arts District, State-Thomas Historic District and Roseland Homes, were all a part of the exclusive African American town of Freedman’s Town. The town was forced to flourish in the discrimination of segregation. The African Americans built homes, schools, churches, businesses and a cemetery for their deceased as they were confined to their city within a city.
In 1872, the railroad track was built directly in the middle of Freedman’s town, but the town continued to flourish. Moving around Dallas, outside of their confined area was very difficult with many Deed restrictions forbidding Whites to sell property to African Americans as well as the many White mobs who would threaten, burn or murder African Americans for even attempting to move into other neighborhoods.
Central Expressway was completed in 1949 and destroyed what was left of the flourishing town. Citizens found that walking across a railroad track to move around was very different from crossing a speeding expressway. After driving off the citizens of Freeman’s town, buildings and districts were erected in the area that Dallasites have come to know. With the construction of Central Expressway, Freedman’s town cemetery was unearthed. The descendants pleaded with the city for a new burial home for the graves of their displaced ancestors. Eventually, the Freedman’s Cemetery was formed. It’s Central Expressway and Calvary home is adorned with extremely detailed sculptors by David Newton. To get more information on the Freedmen’s town and the cemetery, visit the Freedmen’s Cemetery as well as their collection at the African American Museum in Fair Park.