From the nineteenth century until today, the power brokers of Dallas have always portrayed their city as a progressive, pro-business, racially harmonious community that has avoided the racial, ethnic, and class strife that roiled other Southern cities. But does this image of Dallas match the historical reality? In this book, Michael Phillips delves deeply into Dallas's racial and religious past and uncovers a complicated history of resistance, collaboration, and assimilation between the city's African American, Mexican American, and Jewish communities and its white power elite.
Exploring more than 150 years of Dallas history, Phillips reveals how white business leaders created both a white racial identity and a Southwestern regional identity that excluded African Americans from power and required Mexican Americans and Jews to adopt Anglo-Saxon norms to achieve what limited positions of power they held. He also demonstrates how the concept of whiteness kept these groups from allying with each other, and with working- and middle-class whites, to build a greater power base and end elite control of the city. Comparing the Dallas racial experience with that of Houston and Atlanta, Phillips identifies how Dallas fits into regional patterns of race relations and illuminates the unique forces that have kept its racial history hidden until the publication of this book.
In a state assumed to have a constitutionally weak governor, the Speaker of the Texas House wields enormous power, with the ability to almost single-handedly dictate the legislative agenda. The House Will Come To Order charts the evolution of the Speakers’s role from a relatively obscure office to one of the most powerful of the state. This fascinating account, drawn from the Briscoe Center’s oral history project on the former Speakers, is a story of transition, modernization, and power struggles.
Weaving a compelling narrative of scandal, service, and oppotunity, Patrick Cox and Michael Phillips describe the divisions within the traditional Democratic party, the ascendance of Republicans, and how Texas business, agriculture, and media shaped perceptions of officeholders. While the governor and lieutenant governor wielded their power, the authors show how the modern Texas House Speaker built an office of equal power as the state became more complex and diverse. The authors also explore how race, class, and gender affected this transition as they explain the importance of the office in Texas and the impact the state’s Speakers have had on national politics.
"Dr. Phillips argues that Dallas leaders sought to divide and conquer Hispanics, Jews and working-class whites by effectively requiring them to adopt a white identity in exchange for small social and economic concessions. The results could be heartbreaking. In the late 1930s, one Hispanic child in Dallas told a researcher, "I don't like being a Mexican. I want to be an American." That is exactly the sort of statement that Dallas leaders have wanted the community to forget. It is Dr. Phillips' great achievement to make sure that will not happen." -- Craig Flournoy
"An ambitious work, White Metropolis deserves attention..." - January 2007