Dallas has evolved into a world renowned city due to its rich history of visionary individuals that include: courageous pioneers, determined farmers, innovative entrepreneurs, brilliant engineers and extraordinary men of faith. As one enters Dallas from the north on the Central Expressway they are welcomed by the skyline and an eight acre park that marks the historic areas of State-Thomas, Freedman’s Town and Old North Dallas. Griggs Park commemorates Reverend Allen R. Griggs the 1870’s pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church, who created the first Dallas high school for African Americans as well as many other numerous self-help initiatives. The vision is for Griggs Park to leave a footprint memorial to the past, while enhancing the green open space for the enjoyment of the community and families who live, work and play in Uptown, the highest density residential neighborhood in Dallas.
Our Community/Vision for Griggs Park
Griggs Park provides the opportunity to create and maintain an oasis for the highest density residential neighborhood in Dallas. Uptown’s over 18,000 diverse residents include a cross section of ages, ethnic origins, families, professionals and students. Compared to the Dallas average of 119 sq. ft. per person of park space, Uptown has 19 sq. ft. per person. This campaign will enhance the current space with children’s facilities, kiosks, benches, picnic tables, groves of new trees, broad pedestrian pathways, fountains and recognition of the park’s history. The planned improvements will benefit residents and all of Dallas to continue as one of the most environmentally conscious cities in the U.S.
Reverend Allen R. Griggs Biography
Reverend Allen R Griggs, DD, was born a slave in Georgia in 1850, brought to Texas at age nine, and emancipated at age fifteen on June 19, 1865. He achieved his lifelong dream of an education, turned it into a mission to educate African Americans, and became one of the most well-known and outstanding Baptist preachers of the nineteenth century. In 1875, as a new minister of New Hope Baptist Church on Hall Street, he started a grammar school for ex-slaves and by 1878 had built the first high school for African Americans, named Colored Baptist High School. This was fourteen years before the public high school named Dallas Colored High School (later Booker T Washington) would be opened in 1892. Reverend Griggs organized four black colleges, two seminaries, one academy and over five hundred edifices of education and religion like Bryan Orphan Home. He also created and published the first African American newspaper in Texas in 1878, and was editor of five others. He was granted an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from Kentucky State University in 1894. He was also a Member of the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, and a Delegate to the Pan-Baptists Congress in London. Reverend Griggs passed away in 1922 and is buried in Dallas. In 1924 at the request of the City Federation of Negro Women’s Clubs, the Dallas Park Board dedicated the park that bears the name Griggs Park in honor of his life’s work.