In the Spring of 2020, the Office of Arts and Culture (OAC) received a $50,000 grant from the National Park Service (NPS) to research and interpret the historic legacy of the 1936 Hall of Negro Life.  Together through this grant, OAC and Southroad Pictures are celebrating this Hall, a momentous prelude to Civil Rights History, through a documentary film. This documentary serves to honor and share the story of The Hall of Negro Life, which was in itself, a groundbreaking, federally-funded exhibition hall that existed on the grounds of Fair Park for only one year. The exhibition highlighted the contributions of Aaron Douglas, the most important African-American artist of the early 20th century and many others. The exhibition would not have come together but for the extraordinary efforts of A. Maceo Smith, who lobbied in support of federal funding to underwrite the exhibition. This exhibition opened the door for the Civil Rights Movement in Texas, but has received little attention since 1936. We are in search of the memories and stories about this event to preserve this momentous moment of history.

In support of this important documentary film, the OAC is inviting all to join in commemorating this extraordinary exhibition. We are looking for memories, images, audio histories, artifacts, documents, or any other ephemera relating to the Hall of Negro Life. Together, we will tell this story of triumph and perseverance that paved the way for the Civil Rights movement in Dallas.


The Hall of Negro Life was a federally-funded exhibition at the Texas Centennial in 1936. This exhibition was revolutionary in that it exhibited the achievments of Black artists in the early 1900s. The perseverence of African-American leaders in finding funding and support brought this exhibition into being.

The Hall of Negro Life was officially dedicated in 1936 to celebrate Juneteenth, the anniversary of the date that African-American Texans learned they were freed from slavery. This exhibition hall acknowledged and honored the history and accomplishments of African-Americans in the United States with a large collection of art by Black artists, including murals that celebrated Black Culture. Even with this success, the Hall of Negro Life was deconstructed one year after its opening.



Share your stories, artifacts, and more HERE



Kay Kallos
Public Art Program Manager
Lynn Rushton
Collection & Conservation Manager
Drema Chavez
Public Art Coordinator
Kendall Ferguson
Public Art Coordinator
Translate / Traducir »