James Lee Dickey: An Analysis of One African-American's Leadership in Jim Crow Texas

Finding Space

Colored youths needed more than entertainment; they needed a place to run, play and vent some of that teenage angst. In 1940, Dr. Dickey petitioned Taylor’s all white City Council to create a park south of the railroad tracks. He maintained that having a recreational facility where colored youths could play baseball, basketball, have a playground and a place to socialize would decrease the crime rate. The Council agreed. First, the City purchased 7 acres of land adjacent to the colored school to build a football field where the Blackshear/O.L. Price Panthers won 2 state football championships within the next 20 years. In addition, members of the community donated land while the city contributed the necessary funds to create the 6-acre Robinson Park. With a sports field for football, a baseball diamond at Robinson Park, and green space with a playground for smaller children, the City of Taylor was considered quite a progressive town. In fact, its energy inspired the Southwest District Medical and Dental Association to bypass Georgetown and Austin to hold their quarterly meeting in Taylor on October 14, 1941.

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