Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 16, Number 01, Spring, 2004 Page: 42
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In 1907, he married Portia, the only daughter
of Booker T.Washington, and the couple settled
in the Fairmont Heights suburb of the
District.' He continued his practice in
Washington until 1912, when he relocated to
Dallas, presumably to make a name for himself
away from the influence of his celebrated fatherin-law.
Pittman practiced architecture from
their home on Juliette Street, while his wife
Soon after moving to Dallas, Pittman
obtained some prominent commissions in the
region, beginning with the Beaux-Arts style
Pythian Temple. The city issued the building
permit on April 16, 1915, to Walton
Construction Company for a
four-story brick lodge building
(although the final construction The Great Depi
was five stories) that would drying up any
serve as the state headquarters commission.
of the Knights of Pythias, a
1 r 1 ** 3 T African-Amer
black fraternal organization. In
addition to housing the organization,
it had offices for African- ...those who
American professionals and also hire architects
served as a social center, provid- business to w
ing event facilities and a dance
floor for African-American
social clubs and schools. The
Pythian Temple also had an elevator, the first that
African-Americans were allowed to use in the
segregated city. Although the Pythians fell on
hard times and lost the building in 1939, it still
stands at 2551 Elm Street in Deep Ellum, the
first significant commercial structure in Dallas
designed, built, and paid for by AfricanAmericans.4
On October 25, 1989, the Dallas
City Council designated it a historical landmark.
Pittman's next major Dallas commission was
the St. James AME Church, which still stands on
Good-Latimer Expressway. The Neo-Classical
structure, built using African-American crews,
was begun in 1919 and finished two years later.
The congregation kept the building for 64 years;
it is now owned by the Meadows Foundation,
and houses the Mental Health Association of
Greater Dallas and the Greater Dallas
Community of Churches. Other Pittman commissions
were built in Fort Worth, Houston, San
Antonio and Waxahachie; sadly, only the Allen
Chapel AME Church in Fort Worth and Joshua
Chapel AME Church in Waxahachie still stand.
As an architect, Pittman had an uncompromising
temperament and high standards; he
gained a reputation for arrogance and being
difficult to work with. He began to display
eccentric behavior; he became unkempt in his
grooming, growing his hair long and wearing
the same rumpled suit every day. As architectural
commissions dried up, he became increasingly
bitter, especially towards
other African Americans; those
lion hit Dallas, who could afford to hire archiential
for new tects usually took their business
sp y fr to white professionals. His perspecially
sonal life suffered from fits of
architects temper; Portia left him in
1928, taking their three chiluld
afford to dren with her to Tuskegee.
ally took their The Great Depression hit
Dallas, drying up any potential
for new commissions, especially
for African-Anerican architects.
Although the city directory
listed Pittman as an architect from 19131924
and in 1925-28 as the president of the
Brotherhood of Negro Building Mechanics of
Texas, after 1929 he ceased to practice architecture
altogether. As a response to the economic
crisis, Pittman turned his attention full-time to
a publication he first printed August 18, 1928,'
and beginning in 1931 the city directory listed
Pittman as the editor of the Brotherhood Eyes.
The Brother/hood Eyes was not Pittman's first
experience with editorial work; while in
Washington, he was president of the local chapter
of the Negro Business League, for which he
edited the Negro Biisiless Leagie Herald.
However, the self-published Brothlerhlood Eyes,
declaring itself the vox poplli, was different in
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Dallas Historical Society. Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 16, Number 01, Spring, 2004, periodical, 2004; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth35092/m1/44/: accessed June 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Historical Society.