In conjunction with Deep Ellum’s 150th anniversary, the African American Museum will debut two exhibitions. The two exhibitions focus on the once-thriving African-American community Central Track, which is connected to Deep Ellum and whose roots date back to the Civil War. Central Track was demolished in the 1940s to make way for the North Central Expressway and the I-345 overpass.
The museum will also be hosting a community event on opening day and will support a panel discussion and book signing at the Nasher Sculpture Center – all to commemorate the enduring significance of Deep Ellum and Central Track.
The first of the two exhibits, Central Track: Crossroads of Deep Ellum, focuses primarily on the 1920s and 1930s and features newspaper clippings, archival photographs, posters, and recordings of blues, jazz, and popular music of the period. The second, Seeing a World Blind Lemon Never Saw presents a photographic series made by Alan Govenar from 2021-2023, exploring rural East Texas and little-known places in Dallas, locations Blind Lemon visited or alluded to in his songs.
Both exhibits are free and open to the public. They will open on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, and run through May 30, 2024, at the African American Museum, Dallas in historic Fair Park.
Community Family Day, which will mark 30 years since the African-inspired building opened its doors at Fair Park, will include arts and crafts, a paint party, live music, a documentary, films, exhibition trivia and commemorative gifts. The free event will take place at the African American Museum on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
The Art and The Urban Experience panel discussion and book signing, presented by the Nasher Sculpture Center and Documentary Arts, will take place Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023, at 5:30 p.m. at the Nasher Sculpture Center. The panel discussion will highlight the efforts of Alan Govenar, Kip Lornell and Documentary Arts to focus public attention on the enduring significance of Deep Ellum.
The talk will feature Govenar joined by Bob Ray Sanders and Norma Adams-Wade, who will provide context and commentary on Deep Ellum's storied history. A book signing with the authors of See That My Grave Is Kept Clean: The World and Music of Blind Lemon Jefferson by Alan Govenar and Kip Lornell and Deep Ellum and Central Track: Where Cultures Converged by Alan Govenar and Jay Brakefield, will follow the discussion.
The African American Museum, Dallas is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free self parking is available in nearby lots. For more information, go to aamdallas.org.