[Dallas: Don Gilbert / Dallas Negro Chamber of Commerce, 1948]. 356pp. Profusely illustrated with photographs printed in the text. Original red cloth, spine and covers printed in black. Noticeable wear to covers, mild fraying along joints and at spine tail, corners worn, front hinge tender. Clean internally. About very good. Item #WRCAM54873
A rare and highly informative city guide for the African-American citizens of Dallas in the mid-20th century, only the second and the last such directory printed in Big D. The NEGRO CITY DIRECTORY was edited and published by Don Gilbert, also the publisher of APPLAUSE, an African-American magazine printed in Dallas beginning in 1933. Though a slightly earlier edition of this Dallas directory was edited and published by T.P. Scott and sponsored by the Dallas Negro Chamber of Commerce, in his Publisher's Note, Gilbert thanks the "zealous citizens whose cooperation made this initial effort possible." The directory is copiously illustrated with photographic advertisements featuring businesses and businesspeople. Most of the advertisements are full-page efforts touting restaurants, schools, banks, insurance companies, beauty shops, hotels, theaters ("Star Theatre - South's Finest New Colored Movie House"), mortuaries, ice cream shops, the DALLAS MORNING NEWS, a local baseball team called the Dallas Rebels who thanks their "Colored Fans who deserve the Best in Sports entertainment," and even two "Negro Achievement Days" at the State Fair of Texas. National and regional companies such as Pepsi, 7-Eleven, Oak Farms Dairy, and Mobil Oil have also bought advertising space in the directory. The people pictured include business owners, pastors, policemen, attorneys, college officials, and others. The directory also includes a national roster of "Negro Chambers of Commerce" and a city-by- city listing of all the municipal branches in Texas. In addition to the advertisements, the "Introduction to Dallas" recounts the progress of race relations in the city, giving information on transportation, services, and providing biographies of some notable Dallas citizens alongside a handful of illustrated histories of local churches. The directory also contains extensive illustrated advertisements for a number of traditionally African-American colleges, including Jarvis Christian College, Prairie View A&M, Wiley College, Paul Quinn College, and Langston University. The majority of the directory is comprised of a 220pp. alphabetical listing of the African-American citizens of Dallas, often with home addresses and occupations listed beside the names, and occasionally phone numbers. This is followed by a statewide classified section listing professional names and addresses from accountants to "wood dealers," and then a short section of "Negro Employees of Greater Dallas." The directory concludes with an Index section and more advertisements. OCLC lists two African-American directories from Dallas in the 1940s - this one and a 1941-42 edition edited by T.P. Scott. Both editions were sponsored by the Dallas Negro Chamber of Commerce, and both are rare in the current market. OCLC is unclear about the total number of physical copies of this 1947- 48 edition in institutions, but it is fewer than twenty. One of the most well-executed African- American city guides of the 20th century for any city, composed in a southern municipality known for its history of racial division.