Little Egypt, Texas

Little Egypt was an African-American community in Texas founded after the Civil War and continuing until the sale of the land in 1962. The neighborhood was located within Dallas city limits, north of Northwest Highway.[1] It was about thirty-five acres in size.[2] The land currently has large homes and the Northlake Shopping Center.[1] Students from Richland College have been working on a project to discover what happened to the families after they left Little Egypt.[3] Professors, Clive Siegle and Tim Sullivan of Richland, are conducting an archeological survey of the footprints of two of the Little Egypt houses on an empty lot in the area.[4] Siegle has found a few artifacts on the site.[4] Siegle would like to document oral history from those who once lived in the town.[5]

HistoryEdit

The land was originally given to newly freed slaves after the end of the Civil War.[6] Jeff and Hanna Hill, the slaves receiving the land, were freed by their masters in 1865.[1] The Little Egypt Baptist Church was built in 1870.[1] The name was chosen to allude to the Biblical story of the Exodus of Jews, who were slaves, from Egypt.[7] The town only had one school for all grade levels.[7] Early on, people in the community farmed as sharecroppers or worked on nearby plantations.[7] The McCree Cemetery served the residents of Little Egypt.[8]

Over time, the area became surrounded by a wealthy white neighborhood.[9] In November 1961, Little Egypt was rezoned for retail use.[1]

In 1962, the residents sold their homes for cash to a group that wanted to build a shopping center on the land.[9] The organization that paid for the land also paid for the residents' moving costs.[9] Residents were advised by a trustee of the Little Egypt Baptist Church, Sarah Robinson,[10] to sell their homes in order to get a better deal.[9] The real estate deal took a year to finalize.[6] Residents' homes in Little Egypt did not have water or sewer connections and the church had no central heating or restrooms.[10] The streets were unpaved.[1] More than 200 people moved in 1962,[10] all in one day.[11] Residents either moved to the nearby Cedar Crest neighborhood in Dallas,[12] to Oak Cliff or into Rockwall County.[1] Many residents apparently left eagerly because they were able to purchase modern homes with the money given them by the development group.[7]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Maxwell, Lisa C. (June 15, 2010). "Little Egypt, Texas". Texas Handbook Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  2. ^ Cannon, Bill (1997). A Treasury of Texas Trivia. Lanham, Maryland: Republic of Texas Press. p. 178. ISBN 9781461732778.
  3. ^ Gutierrez, Kris. "Students Research Forgotten All-Black Community". NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Ragland, James (November 4, 2016). "Empty lot in northeast Dallas may offer clues about old black settlement known as Little Egypt". Dallas News. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  5. ^ Babb, Christina Hughes (September 21, 2015). "Do you remember 'Little Egypt'? If so, you could help 'rebuild' it". Lake Highlands. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Little Egypt: A New Life for Negroes". The Oneonta Star. May 16, 2017. Retrieved April 15, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ a b c d Young, Michael E. (February 24, 2002). "Life was hard in freedman's town called Little Egypt". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  8. ^ Wilonsky, Robert (July 7, 2015). "Two Dallas cemeteries dating back to the 1800s begin long road to historic designation". Dallas News. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d Holdbrook, Raymond (May 15, 1962). "Century-Old Dallas Negro Colony Abandoned, Residents to Scatter". Corsicana Daily Sun. Retrieved April 15, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ a b c "Little Egypt Families Leave Shacks for Modern Homes". Albuquerque Journal. May 16, 1962. Retrieved April 15, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ Babb, Christina Hughes (August 2, 2011). "Lake Highlands history lesson: Little Egypt". Lake Highlands. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  12. ^ "Little Egypt Residents in Hopeful Move". Denton Record-Chronicle. May 16, 1962. Retrieved April 15, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.

External linksEdit