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Dallas Express

Diana J. Kleiner, rev. by Gabrielle Esparza General Entry

The Dallas Express, formerly known as the Dallas Bee, was a black newspaper founded by William E. King in 1892. Renamed the Dallas Express in 1893, it claimed to be “the South’s Oldest and Largest Negro newspaper.” The Express covered local and national news and published weekly in Dallas.

Adopting the motto “Champion of Justice, Messenger of Hope,” the paper covered issues of racism and discrimination that white-owned papers rarely reported. Editorials drew attention to the injustices suffered by African Americans throughout the South and condemned lynchings, segregation, voter suppression, and mob violence.

One of few black-owned papers in this era, the Dallas Express promised to “cover the state like a blanket.” The Express included a “Texas Towns” section, which detailed social news and achievements within the African American community. Seeking to improve black peoples’ social standing, the paper encouraged readers to support black political candidates and businesses. Advertisements also promoted black businesses and beauty products.

In the mid-1920s, the Dallas Express experienced financial troubles, and its owner sold the paper in 1930. The Southwestern Negro Press, owned by Travis Campbell, purchased the newspaper. Campbell, a white man who had been the papers printer, managed the Dallas Express until 1938 when a group of prominent black businessmen, including Rev. Maynard Jackson and C. F. Starks, bought it. Henry Strickland, treasurer of the Southwestern Negro Press from 1938 to 1940, facilitated the sale as a member of the ownership group. Carter W. Wesley, owner of the Houston Informer (see HOUSTON INFORMER AND TEXAS FREEMAN), purchased the paper around 1970, but plans to move it to Houston did not materialize. Amid declining circulation, publication of the Dallas Express ceased in the mid 1970s.

Paula Bosse,“The Dallas Express—A Look Inside the Offices of the City’s Most Important Black Newspaper.” Flashback Dallas, July 10, 2016, https://flashbackdallas.com/2016/07/10/the-dallas-express-a-look-inside-1924/; “The Dallas Express,” The Portal to Texas History, University of North Texas, April 14, 2020, https://texashistory.unt.edu/explore/collections/DSXPS/; Peggy Hardman, “Strickland, Henry.” Handbook of Texas Online, June 15, 2010, https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fstnb; Laura Harris, “Black-Owned Newspaper ‘The Dallas Express’ Documented Black History for Decades,” NBC 5 (Dallas, TX), February 8, 2020, https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/black-history-month-black-owned-newspaper-the-dallas-express/2306068/; Louis Margot III, The Dallas Express: A Negro Newspaper, Its History, 1892–1971, and Its Point of View (M.A. thesis, East Texas State University, 1971).

Categories:

  • Journalism
  • Newspapers

Places:

  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas
  • North Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Diana J. Kleiner, rev. by Gabrielle Esparza, “Dallas Express,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 22, 2020, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/dallas-express.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects:

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