Dallas Citizens Council members provide leadership on the policy issues that will move Dallas forward and serve in the moments that matter the most for the people of Dallas.
Our purpose is to lead and serve in the moments that matter the most for the people of Dallas.
HISTORY & LEGACY
Founded in 1937, Dallas Citizens Council has a long legacy of furthering the visionary initiatives that have led to significant progress for Dallas. The organization helped lead the way for the development of Central Expressway, establishing Southwestern Medical School and advocating for desegregation. In more recent years, Dallas Citizens Council supported the entertainment arena, now known as the American Airlines Center, created the committee that would develop the downtown Arts District and formed a coalition that led to the successful stabilization of the Dallas Police & Fire Pension system.
This video and below timeline highlight many of the significant milestones achieved by the leadership and service of Dallas Citizens Council for the people of Dallas.
- Robert L. Thornton, Fred Florence and Nathan Adams lead the effort to bring the Texas Centennial and Exposition to Dallas.
- DCC is founded by Robert L. Thornton in the Downtown Baker Hotel.
- DCC proposes the construction of Central Expressway, a downtown auditorium, and the drafting of a master plan for “Greater Dallas”.
- DCC proposes a new Love Field terminal and presents a $300,000 bond program to build it to City Council which is later approved by voters.
- DCC begins a long-standing commitment to financially support the Dallas Symphony.
- DCC and the Chamber of Commerce pledge to raise $1.5 million to help establish Southwestern Medical School.
- DCC encourages Dallas businesses to help raise funds for Negro colleges in Texas.
- DCC’s Water Supply Committee, chaired by Herbert Marcus, gathers civic and city officials to address the water crises, resulting in a $22.4 million bond program for long-term water supply, storm and sanitary sewers and street paving.
- The first leg of Central Expressway opens fulfilling one of DCC’s earliest goals.
- DCC’s Racial Committee, led by member Karl Hoblitzelle, gives a joint report with the Chamber of Commerce on the dire housing situation in the African American Community.
- DCC’s goal of a new downtown Dallas hotel results in the huge and modern Statler-Hilton.
- DCC recommends significant health and civic improvements for West Dallas.
- The Dallas Opera is founded with support from DCC.
- Dallas Memorial Auditorium is completed, fulfilling another of DCC’s earliest goals.
- DCC’s Racial Committee along with the Chamber of Commerce meet with local and national black leaders and the NAACP to address desegregation.
- DCC members, led by C. A. Tatum, Jr., press for peaceful desegregation of public spaces, department stores, lunchrooms, motels and hotels, restaurants, movie theaters and schools.
- DCC embarks on a widespread public campaign in support of desegregation, including the production of the film "Dallas at the Crossroads" which urgently stressed the need to address desegregation.
- President John F. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert Kennedy publicly praise Dallas for its handling of school integration.
- Negro Chamber of Commerce presents a plaque to DCC for having worked so diligently with Negro leaders in achieving peaceful school integration.
- Dallas Times Herald acknowledges that the peaceful school desegregation had hinged largely on the efforts of DCC.
- DCC creates the Dallas Assembly.
- DCC’s President J. Erik Jonsson greets President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy at Love Field ahead of his arrival at the DCC Annual Luncheon just minutes before his assassination.
- DCC urges Dallas County Commissioners Court to issue a $20.5 million bond for an “outer loop” around the city, ultimately becoming LBJ Freeway.
- RL Thornton Jr. heads a DCC committee with DISD and the Chamber of Commerce to study and implement the creation of a junior college system, which would eventually become Dallas County Community College District.
- DCC wins support from Washington and LBJ to build a new downtown federal building.
- DCC invites the National Urban League to establish a Dallas Chapter and provides initial funding.
- Frank Cuellar, Sr. becomes the first Hispanic member of DCC.
- Mary C. Crowley becomes the first woman member of DCC.
- Comer Cottrell becomes the first African American member of DCC.
- Walt Humann and other DCC Directors lead efforts to raise money in the campaign to create DART.
- Dallas Breakfast Group is founded by three DCC Members Ray Hunt, Bill Solomon and Johnny Johnson.
- DCC’s Cultural Affairs Committee establishes the Dallas Business Committee for the Arts, which works to develop the downtown Arts District.
- DCC’s Task Force helps to create Dallas Medical Resource.
- DCC supports 14-1 plan to diversify City Council by providing financial support for a PR campaign.
- DCC creates the Adult Literary and Life Skills task force to promote adult literacy and support the Dallas County Adult Literacy Council.
- DCC Member Robert Hoffman leads efforts with the City Council to approve the Dallas Plan that focuses on growth and spending needs over the next 35 years – and included the Trinity River Corridor project.
- With heavy support from DCC, DART introduces light rail transportation.
- The Dallas Together Forum is organized where a diverse group of leaders set goals for businesses for minority purchasing and contracts.
- DCC lends support to the city in negotiating for a new basketball/ice hockey arena, which became the American Airlines Center and Victory Park.
- DCC proposes and supports the bond campaign for Trinity River flood control, recreation, transportation and purchasing the Great Trinity Forest.
- DCC Former Chairman Bill Solomon and Fort Worth’s John Roach lead a group of 30 Metroplex business and civic leaders to resolve the Wright Amendment conflict between the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth. The resolution allowed both cities to issue revenue bonds to finance DFW International Airport’s $2.5 billion capital improvement program.
- DCC and the Chamber of Commerce develops a 6-point plan directed at the DISD School Board for selecting a superintendent.
- DCC, Hoblitzelle, Meadows, and Exxon-Mobil Foundations hire SRI International to study the unequal allotment of state awarded research money to public universities in North Texas. This initiative leads to the creation of the Texas Research Alliance to promote inter-university and university/industry collaboration to advocate to the state legislature for increased research funding for North Texas universities.
- DCC’s Issues Analysis Committee issues a position paper on public school financing, suggesting reform.
- Former DCC Chairman Ron Steinhart is named a member of the Texas Tax Reform Commission, proposing reforms to school finance, which were approved by the Texas Legislature.
- DCC successfully fights to keep the North Texas Tollway Authority independent.
- DCC supports the $747 million bond package for the new Parkland Hospital.
- DCC initiates efforts and fights to enable the NTTA to acquire SH 121 as a toll road.
- DCC Former Chairman Ray Hunt leads campaign to pass the voter referendum for the publicly owned Dallas Convention Center hotel, which is now the Omni Dallas Hotel.
- DCC spearheads Proposition 8 Charter Amendment Campaign to raise City Council salaries.
- DCC provides initial statewide backing for Prop 1 and Prop 7 Constitutional Amendment campaigns to increase transportation funding to TxDOT by approximately $5 billion annually.
- DCC collaborates to support $1.6 billion Dallas ISD bond package.
- DCC supports the Trinity Parkway Charrette and report.
- DCC spearheads business community support backing Mayor Rawlings efforts, as well as legislation to reconstitute the failing Dallas Police and Firefighters Pension Fund.
- DCC and many members oppose the “Bathroom Bill” in Austin.
- DCC spearheads the largest city bond election in history at $1.1 billion.