Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 16, Number 01, Spring, 2004 Page: 49
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assigned work in the prison library, and
exchanged letters with Portia and a few friends.
The only disciplinary report Pittman received
was a complaint from his cellmates that he was
"filthy" and kept stacks of old newspapers; he
was subsequently moved to another cell.
He was released on parole June 13, 1939,
on the condition that he not engage in any
newspaper work. A white friend and former
advertiser in the Brotherhood Eyes, H. Strickland,
president of the Excelsior Mutual Life
Insurance Co., agreed to serve as his parole
supervisor. He also found Pittman employment,
which was necessary for his parole, as a
solicitor with the Simpson Tailoring Co.2" So
Pittman returned to Dallas, although he no
longer owned the house at 1018 Liberty.
Instead, he appears sporadically in the Worley
Dallas city directory, first in 1941 at 3115 State
Street-his former supporter and advertiser, the
Powell Hotel-and in 1956 around the corner
in a furnished apartment at 2310 Hugo.
However, the times had changed, as had
Pittman; he no longer tried to challenge the
community leaders. The BE editor was already
in his mid-sixties upon his release from prison
and would keep a low profile for the remainder
of his life.
When he died penniless on March 14,
1958, his friends at the Powell Hotel came to
his aid one last time, taking a collection for his
burial; Pinkston Mortuary donated the plot in
Glen Oaks Cemetery. The African-American
press in Dallas did not remark on his passing,
neither as the first black architect in Dallas, nor
as Booker T. Washington's son-in-law. Much of
the attention Pittman has received in Dallas in
recent years can be credited to former city
councilman Al Lipscomb, who spearheaded the
move to designate the Pythian Temple as a historic
landmark.2 In spite of the attempts to
silence him, the brilliant W. Sidney Pittman's
legacy to Dallas remains, in his standing architectural
achievements and the few remaining
copies of the Brotlierhood Eyes. *
The author wishes to thank Timothy Rives,
Archives Specialist at the National Archives-Central
Plains Region, for providing a copy of Pittman's
Leavenworth Prison file; and Cindy Smolovik,
Archivist at the National Archives-Southwest
Region,for providing a copy of Pittman's court case.
Ruth Ann Stewart, Portia: Tie Life of Portia Waslinglton
Pittmian, the Daughlter of Booker T. Washinlgton (Garden City,
N.Y: Doubleday, 1977), 79-80.
2Mary Barrineau, "The Pride of Sidney Pittman,"
Dallas Times Herald, December 7, 1986: D1+.
3 Letter from clipping file, "Biography-William
Pittman," Dallas Public Library.
4 Barrineau, "Pride of Sidney Pittman."
Stewart, Portia, 101.
' Clyde O. Eastus, US Attorney North Texas District,
Parole Report by US Attorney, February 25, 1937.
7 Stewart, Portia, 80.
s Lauren Kessler, Alternative Journalism in American
History (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publishers), 38.
9William Sidney Pittman, Brotherhlood Eyes, September
"' Ibid., December 5, 1936: 6.
"Brotherhood Eyes Editor Acquitted by Dallas Jury,"
San Antonio Register, May 20, 1936: 3.
12 Brotherhood Eyes, December 5, 1936: 4.
13 Ibid., December 5, 1936: 5.
4 Barrineau, "The Pride of Sidney Pittman."
15 "New Mt. Gilead BC," undated letter by "N.D.,"
Dallas Historical Society.
'" San Antonio Register,July 7, 1939: 5.
17 Letter from C.W.B. Long, Office of Inspector, US
Post Office Department, "RE: alleged violation of Section
598 PLAR of 1932. Parole Report: In re.W Sidney
's US v. W Sidney Pittimanl, US District Court,
'9 U.S. Penitentiary Admissions Summary,
March 31, 1937.
2'1 Letter, Chief Probation Officer of Northern
District of Texas to Chief Parole Officer at Leavenworth,
June 2, 1939.
2' Elaine Linear, "Old Pythian Temple Joins Endangered
Species List," Dallas Observer,August 27, 1987.
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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/m1/51/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Historical Society.