Dallas Historical Society presents Brown Bag Lecture Series: Life & Legends of Deep Ellum with John Slate

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John Slate
John Slate Photo courtesy of John Slate

After the Civil War many ex-enslaved persons settled in what were called “Freedmentowns.” In Dallas, the railroad helped spawn one of these towns along Elm Street in an area now known as Deep Ellum. “Ellum” is the phonetic spelling of the southern pronunciation of Elm, and deep indicated its far east location in relation to downtown.

Businesses and make-shift houses sprung up around Central Track in an area too far from downtown to be deemed desirable. During the early 1900s the area was mostly occupied by African Americans and Jewish immigrants. By the 1920s these residents had established a community well known for its businesses that provided nearly any kind of merchandise. It also found fame in its nightclubs, which became hotbeds for blues and jazz music. From Blind Lemon Jefferson and Lead Belly to European immigrant families, Deep Ellum was a vibrant melting pot of cultures and experiences.

Due to Covid-19 precautions, seating is limited, masks will be enforced, and there will be temperature checks at the door. This event will also be livestreamed via Facebook.

Event Details



Hall of State at Fair Park
3939 Grand Ave.
Dallas, TX 75210


Ticket Info

Admission is free with registration.