Dallas Civil Rights Leader A. Maceo Smith Helped Develop Hamilton Park Neighborhood

During Black History Month, NBC 5 is taking a closer look at the men and women who broke barriers and the people shaping the future for North Texas.

African American Museum, Dallas

A. Maceo Smith was a pioneer and civil rights leader in Dallas. His service to the community spanned more than five decades in several capacities.

According to the African American Museum in Fair Park, which has named a community award after him, Smith was a leading figure in the NAACP, Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce and the Dallas Urban League.

Smith, born in 1903, is credited with helping develop Hamilton Park in Dallas, a neighborhood built out of necessity for African Americans to have a place to live in the 1950s. Several black-owned homes had been bombed leaving people in need of another place to go.

It was dedicated in October 1953 and opened in 1954. The neighborhood was actually finished in 1961. There was a shopping center, single-family homes and an apartment complex. It had a park for people to play and exercise and even a school.

The community on the northwest side of what we now know as Central Expressway was named after Dr. Richard T. Hamilton, a physician and civil rights leader.

Smith, who died in 1977, also served as a regional director of fair housing and equal opportunity for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

He was one of the first supporters of the African American Museum in Dallas and the founder of the Hall of Negro Life at the State Fair of Texas in 1936.

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