Parks & Outdoors
Anita Harris Phelps Park
Griggs Park is a historic 8-acre park located in Uptown Dallas that provides a safe, beautiful, and natural area for all ages including families and children. The park has newly renovated amenities for picnics, children’s playgrounds, areas for pets, groves of trees for enjoying reading, painting or quiet conversation, scenic views, and a moving historical memorial to the Park’s namesake, the Rev. A.R. Griggs and the State Thomas and Freedman’s community that preceded Uptown.
Griggs Park provides the opportunity to create and maintain an oasis for the highest density residential neighborhood in Dallas. Uptown’s over 18,000 diverse residents include a cross section of ages, ethnic origins, families, professionals and students. Compared to the Dallas average of 119 sq. ft. per person of park space, Uptown has 19 sq. ft. per person.
Reverend Allen R. Griggs Biography
Reverend Allen R Griggs, DD, was born a slave in Georgia in 1850, brought to Texas at age nine, and emancipated at age fifteen on June 19, 1865. He achieved his lifelong dream of an education, turned it into a mission to educate African Americans, and became one of the most well-known and outstanding Baptist preachers of the nineteenth century.
In 1875, as a new minister of New Hope Baptist Church on Hall Street, he started a grammar school for ex-slaves and by 1878 had built the first high school for African Americans, named Colored Baptist High School. This was fourteen years before the public high school named Dallas Colored High School (later Booker T Washington) would be opened in 1892.
Reverend Griggs organized four black colleges, two seminaries, one academy and over five hundred edifices of education and religion like Bryan Orphan Home. He also created and published the first African American newspaper in Texas in 1878, and was editor of five others. He was granted an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from Kentucky State University in 1894. He was also a Member of the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, and a Delegate to the Pan-Baptists Congress in London. Reverend Griggs passed away in 1922 and is buried in Dallas. In 1924 at the request of the City Federation of Negro Women’s Clubs, the Dallas Park Board dedicated the park that bears the name Griggs Park in honor of his life’s work.