The Story of Joppa

In 1872, an emancipated slave named Henry Critz Hines founded the Fredman’s town of Joppa (pronounced Jop-ee) between the tracks of what is no the Union Pacific Railroad and the flood-prone wetlands of the Trinity River in what is now southern Dallas. In the near century and a half since that time, the city has abused, terrorized, neglected, and otherwise exploited that community. Today, it is perhaps the most polluted neighborhood in Dallas, with a life-expectance more than ten years shorter than more affluent portions of the city. A food desert, it is isolated from the city, accessible only by automobile since its only pedestrian connection to the outside world was severed two years ago, without replacement. The story of this historic and tight-knit community, and its fight for services and recognition, is told in this special report in the Dallas Morning News. It is a story I have been reporting for several years, and with extraordinary photographs by my colleague Lynda Gonzalez.