Cleophas Anthony (C. A.) Galloway, Dallas businessman, realtor, and first African-American city councilman, was born to Lee and Hester Galloway on April 28, 1905, in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He was the oldest of four children. He attended Philander Smith College and shortly thereafter returned to Hot Springs to sell insurance. On August 12, 1931, he married fellow Hot Springs native Bernice A. Birch.
The continued economic effects of the Great Depression prompted Galloway to search for greater opportunities outside of Hot Springs. While many of America’s southern Blacks moved to northern cities for economic betterment, in 1934 Galloway moved to Dallas, which offered some economic possibilities, especially given the oil boom in nearby East Texas. C. A. Galloway’s work in Dallas as an insurance salesman was probably for Excelsior Mutual Insurance Company as this was the only Black insurance company that survived the Depression.
Galloway also dedicated his talents to civic activities for the benefit of the African-American community of Dallas. In October 1938 he was listed as an “outstanding campaigner” in a membership drive that added 525 new members to the Mooreland branch of the YMCA. Six months later he was named chair of the committee for Industrial Licenses in the Progressive Voters League’s (see DEMOCRATIC PROGRESSIVE VOTERS LEAGUE) program of improvement. He also became active in Dallas’s Negro Chamber of Commerce (now Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce), which in the 1940s worked in conjunction with the Council of Negro Organizations dedicated to improvements for Dallas’s Black community. The council’s effectiveness was echoed in the Dallas Negro city directory for 1947–48 which optimistically claimed, “Although Dallas interracially has had its rough spots, it has been remarkably consistent for the degree to which the races have worked together for development of the city as a whole.”
Around 1949 Galloway changed his career path from insurance to real estate. The need for Black housing was urgent as revealed by a Dallas housing report released in 1950. This report stated, “with 21,568 Negro households in Dallas, only 14,850 housing units were available to them.” In response to these limitations, some of Dallas’s Blacks repeated what had occurred in the 1940s and began expansion into impoverished outlying White neighborhoods. Subsequently, as was the case a decade earlier, a series of bombings occurred in retaliation for the migration into previously all-White neighborhoods. Galloway’s property became be one of twelve buildings destroyed in a year-long terror campaign. The destruction took place on the Sunday evening of June 24, 1951. On this night, four explosions rocked Dallas with three of those explosions occurring in the disputed area surrounding Oakland Avenue in South Dallas. The targets of the explosions were three commercial properties and one home. One of the commercial properties, located at 4301 S. Oakland Avenue, included a brick one-story building which Galloway had purchased the month before for $16,000. The space would have allowed for several businesses, including a café and a doctor’s office. Galloway had taken his wife and seven others to view the property undergoing renovation earlier that day. Shortly after they departed, the dynamite exploded and caused $200 worth of damage. Although the bombing campaign was effective in blocking a possible Black expansion, the attack focused attention on the issue, tensions, and necessary expansion of Black housing.
In the 1950s Galloway formed C. A. Galloway Real Estate, located at 1912 Forest. Continual listings of his properties in the Dallas Morning News displayed his acumen in acquiring and selling property. Politically and socially, Galloway found positions in leadership. He served as president of the Dallas Association of Real Estate Brokers and was a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers. He also continued to work with the Dallas Negro Chamber of Commerce.
Although the need for an expansion of Black housing far exceeded the supply, the city of Dallas took few steps to alleviate the need. Dallas may have been content to continue its slow expansion of Black housing had it not been for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and the election of Erik Jonsson as mayor of Dallas. To maintain and expand the city’s economic vitality, Jonsson decided to rehabilitate Dallas’s national image thorough implementation of a bold program entitled “Goals for Dallas,” patterned after the “Goals for America” program started under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. One of his goals in which Galloway was to play a part was in the racial integration of the city.
Galloway’s leadership earned him respect across racial lines, and by 1967 he was so highly regarded by both Black and White citizens of Dallas that he was chosen to be a member of the Dallas Bi-Racial Committee. At that time he was also a member of the board of directors of the integrated Dallas Small Business Development Center and president of the Dallas Negro Chamber of Commerce. His wife Bernice was active as a teacher in Dallas.
At the announcement of the resignation of Joe Moody from the city council, two possible Black candidates were among those nominated as replacements. C. A. Galloway and the Rev. Caesar Clark, pastor of Good Street Baptist Church in South Dallas, were named as possible city council candidates for Place 3. Three days later, Mayor Eric Jonsson took a historic step by appointing Galloway to fill the post of interim city councilman. Jonsson stated, “We should not worry about the candidate’s skin pigmentation.” The appointment of a Black man “amazed” Rev. H. Rhett James, president of the Dallas Metropolitan Council of the NAACP. James, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church, was also a political firebrand who had been fighting the city council over integration since 1955. He favored the creation of a “Negro council district.” Rev. Caesar Clark, the candidate not chosen, however, warned against a separate district as a ploy to placate Black Dallas while they were silently funneled “into a sort of ghetto.”
Galloway’s press into Dallas politics was almost immediate. On February 28, 1967, he was one of three Dallas councilmen who witnessed Governor John Connally’s signing of a bill that granted Dallas and Tarrant counties the power to create and raise taxes for a joint airport—the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport—which was forecast to be as economically important as “the coming of the railroads.” Galloway’s participation at this conference seemed to be the zenith of his political career. During his tenure, he continued to remain active in the Dallas Negro Chamber of Commerce as well as in the operation of his real estate company.
In 1968 C. A. Galloway was recognized for his business insight by his inclusion in the economic committee of the “Goals for Dallas” program. He ran as the Democratic candidate for District 3 county commissioner. His credentials included four years of service on the board of the Dallas Association of Real Estate Brokers, offices in the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, Dallas Negro Chamber of Commerce, Bi-Racial Committee of Greater Dallas, and membership in St. James AME Church and other associations. His election promise was to work for all the people of Dallas County to get the county “moving again” to “attract new industry and new jobs.” The contest between Galloway and opponent Jim Tyson, however, soon became dirty. Galloway reported that some of his yard posters had been destroyed. According to the testimony of an unnamed housewife, “a car of youths systematically took up all signs in the block and carted them off….” Although this housewife remained unnamed in the papers, it was revealed that she did live on Wendelkin Street, the same street the Galloways lived on. Tyson and his supporters warned the politically liberal-leaning electorate of the district that Galloway was actually managed by conservatives. When the votes were counted, Galloway received only 8,984 votes to Tyson’s 14,489. Despite his defeat, one month later, Galloway’s name was brought forward as a possible replacement for State Representative Joseph E. Lockridge who had been killed in a Braniff plane crash. Lockridge had been Dallas’ first Black representative in the State House of Representatives.
Despite defeats, Galloway remained vital to the Black vote in Dallas. In October 1968 he was on a committee led by George L. Allen, president of the South Dallas Leadership Conference, to try to steer the Black vote from voting a straight party ticket. This step was seen as progressive and a sign of a maturing electorate as, according to Allen, “the most sophisticated voter knows that his cause can best be served by selecting candidates rather than to pull a straight lever.” In 1969 Galloway also was one of twenty chairmen selected for forming neighborhood committees to assist in the implementation of the “Goals for Dallas” plans. Galloway’s neighborhoods were included in a special project named “Operation Can-Do.” More than $8 million in federal funds and $2 million in local funds were to be spent in a three-year program to improve low income neighborhoods. By 1976 Galloway’s real estate firm was willing to invest in urban renewal for his neighborhoods with the purchase of Glenview Village. In an investment with both Black and White partners, this purchase was reported to be the first shopping center co-owned equally by Blacks and Whites in Dallas.
C. A. Galloway, who also had a long history of caring for foster children, died at Methodist Medical Center in Dallas on June 10, 1995, at the age of ninety years. He was buried in Carver Memorial Cemetery. Sam Brown, then president of the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, characterized Galloway as “a community jewel” and a “pioneer and a pace-setter.”