On a rainy day in South Dallas last week, the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce (DBCC) still looked toward a brighter tomorrow as it announced plans to demolish its historic building at a press conference on Tuesday, January 24.
The past and present leadership of the DBCC and members of the Dallas City Council attended the press conference, as well as prominent business leaders and property owners from South Dallas.
The historic building on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard housed the DBCC headquarters for over three decades. It eventually fell into decay, forcing the DBCC to move across the street into the MLK Center in 2016.
Despite its current state, Harrison L. Blair, current president of the DBCC, says the building at 2838 MLK is an important testament to the work of the organization over the years.
“The blood, sweat, and tears of one of our greatest generations of leadership, achieved building an office that saw the chamber grow its impact and influence across the North Texas region,” Blair said at the press conference.
“While this location isn’t considered a historical marker by the state or the city, the communities this facility has helped see it as a historic site,” Blair continued. “We will gather at the site to say goodbye to our past as we look forward to developing world-class programs, events, and facilities that help us effectively serve our 96-year-old mission far into the future.”
Optimism and excitement filled the room as Blair spoke about the past and about future plans to make Dallas’ MLK Boulevard the best in the nation.
Calling upon the local community to help find a new purpose for the site at 2838 MLK is part of this project. The DBCC has paid off the mortgage and now owns the land outright. The chamber will use it to lay the foundations for the next phase of its work and to boost the neighborhood.
“I’m so excited not only for today but for our future as residents of Dallas, black Dallas, and the future that we’re about to embark upon,” said DBCC Board Chairman Randall Bryant, speaking to The Dallas Express.
“This building has so much historical value inside and out,” he continued. “I’m so sad to see it go down today, but I’m so excited about the future that’s going to come for the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce.”
Leaders of the DBCC took sledgehammers to the building as part of the press event, although the weather delayed the actual demolition.
Many at the press conference were sad that the building would be torn down, but an idea of what the future holds made members of the community and business leaders hopeful for what is to come.
“We are pleased that so many well-wishers came out to say goodbye to 2838 Martin Luther King Junior Blvd. as our former office that has supported a lot of historic work. It has given some of the first contracts to black businesses that were looking for it,” said Blair.
“We’re honored to look back on this building,” he continued. “We have people writing messages of goodbye to the building, and we’re going to leave 2838 MLK as a property in the past, but we’re going to look toward the future to all the good economic development work we may be able to achieve with our community.”
Over the past few years, the DBCC has grown to include roughly 800 members.
As membership continues to increase, the DBCC looks forward to building its future at the new headquarters planned up the street, on more land the DBBC owns at the corner of MLK Boulevard and Malcolm X Boulevard.
“We appreciate what the Dallas Black Chamber has done for the city of Dallas and throughout the state,” said Zach Thompson, property owner and former director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, speaking to The Dallas Express. “I look forward to Randall and his leadership moving forward.”
“As a property owner in South Dallas, we commend them for what they’re doing,” Thompson concluded.
This entire article on a ‘historic building’ with no photo???
Another Black done “NOTHING” organization being celebrated symbolically..as usual,has NO value the area,neighborhood is as blighted and dilapidated as it was when that building was built 30 yrs ago..DBCC ain’t worth Nothing…not only in Dallas but across the country.