J. L. Patton Collection

What's Inside this Collection.

J. L. Patton Collection

The J. L. Patton Collection presents images from materials at the Dallas Historical Society collected by legendary African-American Dallas educator, J. L. Patton. John Leslie Patton, Jr., was a man with a commitment to education. Born in Dallas, Texas, in 1905, Patton grew up at a time when employment, public accommodations, housing, and education were all determined by race.

From his exposure to ideas while pursuing graduate studies at New York University, Patton saw ways to change the curriculum at his school to benefit students. As a teacher, he developed and offered an elective course in Negro history. As principal, Patton added his curriculum to the permanent class work for all students.

Other changes under Patton's leadership included the addition of college preparatory courses for returning soldiers on the GI Bill, the improvement of night-school programs to include business and technical courses, and vocational training and work-study programs for those wanting to enter the job market more quickly.

While noted for his educational leadership, Patton was involved in all areas of the community, and his desire to help others was clearly visible. In addition to his many professional and community commitments, he traveled throughout the country speaking at business and educational functions.

After 30 years at Booker T. Washington High School, Patton became Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Community Relations for the Dallas Independent School District (DISD). He served in this capacity for three years before retiring due to illness. He died a few months later on July 18, 1971. In 1976, the DISD established the John Leslie Patton, Jr. Elementary School to honor his contributions to Dallas education, however this school closed in 2006.