Urban Historical Reclamation and Recognition

Nasher Public: Urban Historical Reclamation & Recognition (UHRR) was conceived by artist, curator, and veteran activist Vicki Meek to creatively capture the voices of communities of color whose neighborhoods are experiencing gentrification or erasure. This major project is designed to have three phases, each researching a Dallas neighborhood with a cohort of multi-disciplinary artists who works closely with the community to document and illustrate its historical importance. 

For the first phase in the project, an artist cohort led by the inaugural UHRR fellow, Vicki Meek, honors the rich history of one of the country’s last standing Freedman’s Towns: The Tenth Street Historic District Freedman’s Town.  

One of the key collaborations for the project was with New York’s Kinfolk Foundation, a nonprofit that produces interactive digital media experiences in public spaces to expand the visibility of underrepresented histories and figures. Through a partnership with Kinfolk, five monuments were created in Dallas’s Tenth Street Historic District Freedman’s Town using augmented reality. These monuments highlight and celebrate important sites to the once thriving post-emancipation Black neighborhood.  

The project involved numerous interviews with African American elders and collected archival materials from former and current residents, as well as from Kinkofa, a Dallas-based digital history platform designed to connect Black families to their ancestry. 

Members of the community are invited to download the Kinfolk app and journey through the Tenth Street neighborhood to the five significant locations, indicated on the map below. Each site features a QR code sign that is scannable through the Kinfolk app. Immersive augmented reality visuals, informative text, and archival photographs showcase the vibrant business, educational, recreational, and spiritual life of Tenth Street residents, bringing life to the stories gathered from the community’s elders. 

Map & AR Instructions:
Find the QR code sign
Scan the QR code sign, which will take you to the Kinfolk app
Download the Kinfolk app
Press the + button on the 'Place' screen
Add the appropriate monument for that site
Once the monument is placed, tap it for more information
To hear the audio, be sure that your phone is not on silent and your volume is up
Go to the next site and repeat!

Download the Tenth Street Historical District Freedman's Town Map

The yearlong research project was documented by filmmaker and cohort member Christian Vasquez. Remembering What Was: A Tenth Street Story explores the history of the Tenth Street Historic District through interviews with residents and archival images. The film delves into the neighborhood’s heritage, highlighting the community’s resilience and advocating towards efforts to preserve its historic character.

This project establishes the Nasher Fellow in Urban Historical Reclamation and Recognition to act as curator, community facilitator, and lead investigator. Vicki Meek will serve as the inaugural Fellow and will advise on the selection process for any subsequent Fellows following the pilot term. She will also serve as a project consultant to provide support and advisory services in any future iterations. 

The Fellow will assemble a collective of artists, historians, and partners to connect with local organizations and community members. Throughout the process, the collective will work directly with partner organizations and facilitate collaboration with residents, students, business owners, and other stakeholders to excavate and examine the past, present, and future of each community. The collective will communicate their work through artist-facilitated gatherings; photo, video, and archival documentation; and a culminating project such as an exhibition, installation, or performance.


July 6, 2024
Reveal of the first phase of the Nasher Public: Urban Historical Reclamation and Recognition project
Time: 9 a.m.
Location: Site of the Tenth Street Historic District Marker –1216 E. 8th Street, Dallas

July 6, 2024
Screening of Remembering What Was: A Tenth Street Story by Christian Vasquez
Time: 3 p.m.
Location: Nasher Hall at the Nasher Sculpture Center


To engage with the Tenth Street Historic District Freedman’s Town, Meek has identified the following collective members: Jonathan Norton, playwright; Christian Vasquez, filmmaker; Ángel Faz, social practice visual artist; Brynne Henry, historian and project assistant; poet Shaun Montgomery, and historian Dr. Marvin Dulaney, President of the Association for the Study of African American Life & History. 

The Fellowship provides a pathway for sustainability by creating a model and methodology for future projects that does not hinge on any one individual artist or curator. 

About Tenth Street Historic District Freedman’s Town

The Tenth Street Historic District Freedman’s Town is one of the only intact Freedman’s towns in the nation. The Oak Cliff town was settled by enslaved people in the mid-1800s, becoming a thriving, self-sufficient Freedman’s town by the end of the century with churches, a school, and many turn-of-the-century dwellings. Though the construction of I-35 and other city-led ordinances have resulted in significant demolition of the historic structures, many important landmarks remain, including Oak Cliff Cemetery, established 1846; Sunshine Elizabeth Chapel C.M.E. Church, 1911; Greater El Bethel Baptist Church, c. 1926; N.W. Harllee Elementary School (now N.W. Harllee Early Education Center), 1934; and a collection of residential architecture. In 1994 the area was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Meek chose to focus on this area, located in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, because its historical significance has not been met with adequate interest in preservation or memorialization. Many of the community elders are reaching advanced age and the demolition of historic structures has surged in recent years.

Nasher Public: Urban Historical Reclamation and Recognition will partner with and build on the decades-long work of the Tenth Street Resident Association and Remembering Black Dallas.

About Vicki Meek

Vicki Meek has exhibited widely and is in the permanent collections of the African American Museum Dallas, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She was awarded three public arts commissions with Dallas Area Rapid Transit Art Program, was co-artist on the Dallas Convention Center Public Art Project (the largest public art project in Dallas), and was one of ten artists in Nasher XChange, the Nasher Sculpture Center’s tenth anniversary public sculpture exhibition. In 2021, as a part of Nasher Public, Meek exhibited Stony the Road We Trod, a contemporary shrine dedicated to the Black community onsite in the Nasher Public Gallery. That same year she was awarded Texas Artist of the Year by Art League Houston. Meek resides in Dallas, where she is also an independent curator and writes cultural criticism.


Nasher Public: Urban Historical Reclamation and Recognition is made possible by leading support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Sapphire Foundation, Hattie Mae Lesley Foundation, and the Embrey Family Foundation. Generous support is provided by Humanities Texas and Brenda L. Jackson. Additional support is provided by Dr. Donna J. Barefield, Jessica and William Barefield, Effie Booker, Grace Daniels, Dr. W. Marvin Dulaney, Winstona Chadwick, Helen Giddings / Multiplex Inc., Pamela E. Ice, Brenda Lauderback, Cynthia Nunn, Mary and Shadrach Sias, Wendy and Jeremy Strick, and Colette Vallot.

Nasher Sculpture Center
2001 Flora Street
Dallas, Texas 75201
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