PAST EVENT: THE FORGOTTEN NEIGHBORHOOD: The Bottom – Introducing Joseph Edwin Lockridge

We invite you to share in supporting the community initiatives and service goals of Golden SEEDS CDC. We have a reach history and have accomplished so much, but there is still a lot of work ahead of us. Your donation will make a difference!

Joseph Edwin Lockridge, Texas state legislator, son of Reverend L. R. Lockridge and Demover (Gregory) Lockridge, was born in Waco on July 15, 1932. His family moved to Dallas when he was five where he spent his childhood years in “The Bottom” and graduated from Lincoln High School in 1949. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1954 and a law degree from Howard University in Washington, D. C. in 1960. He served in the United States Army during the Korean War and passed the exam for admission to the Texas State Bar in 1960. That same year, he began a private practice and later became a partner at the Finch, Lockridge, and Cunningham firm in Dallas.

Lockridge, a Democrat, was elected to the House in the Texas legislature in 1966, which made him Dallas’s first black state representative since Reconstruction. In 1967 during the Sixtieth legislative session, his colleagues elected him “Rookie of the Year.” During his legislative tenure, Lockridge served on the Education, House State Affairs, Federal Relations, Mental Retardation, and Penitentiary committees. He was responsible for the passage of legislation authorizing community halfway houses for recovering mental health patients.

Lockridge also stayed active within his community. He served on the board of the Dallas Urban League, the policy council of the Dallas Civil Defense and Disaster Commission, and the Dallas County Mental Health and Mental Retardation Study Committee. He was also a State Vocational Rehabilitation Program advisor, chairman of the Goals for Dallas Task Force on Public Safety, and a participant in the Boy Scouts of America, the YMCA, the Shriners, and the Masons.

Despite his legislative success, Lockridge was unable to finish his term. On May 3, 1968, his life came to an end in a plane crash that killed more than eighty passengers near Dawson, Texas. He was returning to Dallas from Houston after making a speech at Prairie View A&M College (now Prairie View A&M University). The week of his death, Texas governor John Connally and Texas Speaker of the House Ben Barnes made public tributes to Lockridge. Connally described Lockridge as “a dedicated and popular young leader, one of the most effective freshman legislators in my memory.” Barnes said Lockridge’s death was “a great loss for the people of his district and for all citizens of Texas.” He also stated, “I know of no man who has done more to promote equality and mutual understanding among his fellow men than Joe Lockridge.”

Bottom District Vision

In fashioning the Bottom District community model, The Golden S.E.E.D.S. Foundation (TGSF) will focus on the defined neighborhood where transformative programs and infrastructure can be established, community members engaged, additional partnerships built, and creation of a community model that includes mixed-income housing with continued support for an environmentally sustainable community can thrive and grow.

Located on a low-lying stretch of land adjacent to the Trinity River, “The Bottom” is geographically among the closest neighborhoods to downtown Dallas. It is comprised of 240 acres with direct connections to Downtown Dallas by Interstate Highway 35 (I-35) and to The Cedars by the Corinth Street Bridge. It is bounded by I-35 to the west, Eighth Street to the south, Corinth Street to the east, and Trinity River Levee to the north.

“The Bottom” is also among a growing number of river edge communities discussing revitalization as the city of Dallas refocuses its growth strategy back to the Trinity River. This once thriving community has seen a dwindling residential population. However, among the roughly 80% of vacant or poorly maintained single family houses sits one of the nation’s best high schools, Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center School for the Talented and Gifted (Townview), and an early childhood learning center, N W Harllee.

TGSF, a community development not for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization and a project of the Golden Gate Missionary Baptist Church (GGMBC), is looking to also join in partnership with other groups to design housing, technology, health, and environmentally unified visions that will address the specific challenges that currently exist in the Bottom District. These opportunities might include the preservation and enhancement of the existing single-family neighborhoods, develop quality market and affordable housing, increase density as development moves toward I-35, and create pedestrian and vehicular connections linking existing services, amenities, and streets, especially those that dead end into the levee…a real Game Changer!

We invite you to share in supporting the community initiatives and service goals of Golden SEEDS CDC. We have a reach history and have accomplished so much, but there is still a lot of work ahead of us. Your donation will make a difference!

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