The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002 Page: 177

Book Reviews

long barracks) for $20,000 and built a two-story store on the land." Actually,
Honore Grenet (the correct spelling of his name) used wood framing to enclose
the existing two-story stone building that had been the mission convento, and
later was used as a fort by both Mexican and Texian forces in the 1830s. It was
the site of the most bitter fighting in the battle of the Alamo-and the crux of
the later divisive dispute between two factions within the Daughters of the
Republic of Texas about whether to demolish it as an eyesore.
Despite a few lapses such as this and misspelling or incomplete spelling of
some important names-such as that of the key designer of the San Antonio
River Walk, Robert H. H. Hugman, and the famous author of Inside USA, John
Gunther-the book is an invaluable auxiliary source for anyone interested in
San Antonio. It has an excellent bibliography, a fine index, and many useful
illustrations. It's an updated version of the first edition published in 1992.
Hamilton Park: A Planned Black Community in Dallas. By William H. Wilson.
(Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998. Pp. 256. Preface,
acknowledgments. ISBN o-8018-5766-x. $41.95, cloth.)
William H. Wilson has done it again. Much like his earlier books-especially
his prize-winning The City Beautiful Movement (1989)-Hamilton Park is a deftly
researched and argued volume. Moreover, this fine study of a small African
American subdivision in Dallas not only challenges prevailing historiographical
claims but offers a forceful reconsideration of the character of the postwar
American suburban impulse.
Wilson's book traces the social forces that underlay the creation of Hamilton
Park, which by 1960 came to contain more than "seven hundred houses, three
churches, a primary and a high school, a public park, and a shopping center" (p.
1). Its sitting on a narrow wedge of land just south and east of what is now that
heavily trafficked interchange of the LBJ Freeway and the North Central
Expressway was not accidental. Because of the explosive racial politics in Dallas,
it was difficult to find land that was acceptable to black homebuyers and white
neighbors, as well as to developers and underwriters. This parcel, hugging the
eastern bank of Cottonwood Creek and lying immediately west of the Southern
Pacific Railroad tracks and another stream, Floyd Branch, offered a segregated
terrain on which to build much-needed homes for a rising black middle class.
The environment of exclusion is only part of the story. Wisely, Wilson
spends considerably more effort evaluating how the residents developed their
community. By observing the intense interaction of people and place over
time, he concludes that the first generation had been quite active agents in
Hamilton Park's communal life. They organized churches and charitable, gar-
den, and social clubs; because of the area's isolation, the Civic League spon-
sored an array of after-school programs for the booming population of chil-
dren. The Inter-organizational Council (IOC) coordinated efforts to improve
street, park land, and flood-control infrastructure, and to develop political



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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002, periodical, 2001; Austin, Texas. ( accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.