Stranded pedestrians in Dallas’ Joppa community get a lift from City Council

The southern Dallas community of Joppa got some much-needed relief Tuesday when the Dallas City Council allocated $500,000 to provide immediate, free, “on-demand” transportation via Dallas Area Rapid Transit during construction of a long-awaited pedestrian bridge over the nearby Union Pacific Railroad tracks.

Access has long been a problem in Joppa — pronounced jop-ee — a freedman’s town founded in 1872 by emancipated slave Henry Critz Hines. Joppa, with an estimated population of about 750, lies 6 miles southeast of downtown, between the wetlands of the Trinity River and the Union Pacific train tracks.

Adam Bazaldua, whose District 7 includes Joppa, was among those voting for the measure, which the council approved unanimously, with nary a murmur of dissent.

Even so, Bazaldua called it “an example of what should be considered a basic quality of life that we are unfortunately viewing as a celebration. Because, don’t get me wrong, this is a celebration and a win for the community of Joppa. But for the city of Dallas, this is something that we should look at ultimately as a failure. That we have to look at little wins like this just to provide basic quality of life that other communities across Dallas are afforded and expect.”

For generations, Dallas has abused, terrorized and neglected a community built by emancipated slaves. Its story is the history of race in Dallas — and America.