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


Magnolia Dickey did not sit idly by while her husband mediated between black and white communities. As a 1922 Fisk University graduate and active member of the Taylor community, she was concerned about the social and cultural aspects of Taylor’s black community and helped found the Welfare Workers’ Club, a women’s auxiliary for the Negro Chamber of Commerce. The organization’s first major project was to build a community center in which colored residents could meet. Heretofore, churches provided the only adequate space but did not meet the needs of a secular society. Within the next five years, the women raised the necessary funds to construct a community center on land east of the Blackshear School. A large, light-filled hall provided a stage, seating areas, and a kitchen where African Americans could congregate, enjoy plays or pageants, engage speakers and host celebrations joyously independent of white interference.

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