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African American Museum, Dallas, debuts two exhibitions 

In conjunction with Deep Ellum’s 150th anniversary, the African American Museum, Dallas will debut two exhibitions, host a community/family event on opening day, and support a panel discussion and book signing at the Nasher Sculpture Center – all to commemorate the enduring significance of Deep Ellum and Central Track. 

The two exhibitions illuminate Central Track, which connected to Deep Ellum and was once a thriving African American community whose roots date back to the Civil War. Central Track was demolished in the 1940s to make way for North Central Expressway and the I-345 overpass.

Central Track: Crossroads of Deep Ellum focuses primarily on the 1920s and 1930s and features newspaper clippings, archival photographs, posters, and recordings of blues, jazz, and popular music of the period. 

Seeing a World Blind Lemon Never Saw presents a photographic series made by Alan Govenar from 2021-2023, exploring rural East Texas and little-known places in Dallas, locations Blind Lemon visited or alluded to in his songs (see detailed descriptions below). 

Free and open to the public, the exhibitions open Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, and run through May 30, 2024, at the African American Museum, Dallas in historic Fair Park (3536 Grand Ave, Dallas, TX 75210).


In conjunction with the exhibition debuts, the Community/Family Day, which also marks 30 years since the museum opened at Fair Park, will be held Saturday, Nov. 11.

Central Track: Crossroads of Deep Ellum and Seeing a World Blind Lemon Never Saw are the fourth and fifth of five exhibitions created and launched by Documentary Arts founder Alan Govenar to honor Deep Ellum’s century-and-a-half milestone. 

 The three other exhibitions currently on view are When You Go Down In Deep Ellum and Unlikely Blues: Louis Paeth and Blind Lemon Jefferson at the newly opened Deep Ellum Community Center (2528 Elm St. A in Dallas) and Invisible Deep Ellum, a public art installation under the I-345 overpass.

Below is an overview of the exhibitions and events planned at the African American Museum, Dallas:

Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, through May 30, 2024
FREE at the African American Museum, Dallas


Central Track: Crossroads of Deep Ellum unravels the growth and demise of North Central Avenue, in the area known as Central Track or Stringtown, which connects Deep Ellum to what was called Freedman Town after the Civil War. The area was later renamed Short North Dallas then Old North Dallas before being identified as Uptown.

Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, through May 30, 2024
FREE at the African American Museum, Dallas

Featuring the photography of Alan Govenar, the 34 large images of rural East Texas and early Dallas neighborhoods interrogate the landscapes of the legendary blues singer Blind Lemon Jefferson, lyricizing the environment and experiences where Jefferson was born and lived. 

Govenar’s compelling photographs of Jefferson’s environment are characterized with chromatic elegance and depth. The images encapsulate the spectrum of human experience. 

The photographs’ clear tonal contrast of light and shadow evokes a timeless quality that transcends the boundaries of time and gives Govenar’s photographs universal appeal.


Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
African American Museum, Dallas

Community Family Day, which also marks 30years since the African-inspired building opened its doors at Fair Park, will include arts and crafts, a paint party, live music, a documentary, films, exhibition trivia and commemorative gifts.

Presented by the Nasher Sculpture Center and Documentary Arts
Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023, at 5:30 p.m.
Nasher Sculpture Center (2001 Flora St., Dallas, TX 75201)
Free but registration required

The panel discussion will highlight the efforts of Govenar and Documentary Arts to focus public attention on the enduring significance of Deep Ellum. 

The talk will feature Govenar joined by Bob Ray Sanders and Norma Adams-Wade, who will provide context and commentary on Deep Ellum’s storied history and discuss the role art plays in urban growth and the sometimes unintended consequences of that growth. 


A book signing with authors follows for “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean: The World and Music of Blind Lemon Jefferson” by Govenar and Kip Lornell and “Deep Ellum and Central Track: Where Cultures Converged”by Alan Govenar and Jay Brakefield.

Visitors are also encouraged to learn more by visiting the Museum’s permanent exhibition, Facing The Rising Sun: Freedman’s Cemetery, which was initiated by Govenar and Documentary Arts and curated by Collins in 1996. 

HOURS. The African American Museum, Dallas is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free self-parking is available in nearby lots.

For more information, go to or call214-565-9026.

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