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Before AT&T Stadium. Before 5 Super Bowls. Before the triplets. Before Jerry Jones. Before Roger Staubach, Tex Schramm or Tom Landry. There was….the Dallas Texans. That’s the subject of episode 4 of City of Hate.
It’s important to clarify which iteration. There were the 1960-1962 Texans that called Dallas home. But if you want the real story of the history of professional football in Dallas, Texas..you have to go back to the 1952 Dallas Texans. The first professional football team in the south and the last NFL franchise to ever fold.
Imagine it’s 1948. Gasoline is 16 cents a gallon - the average American makes just under three thousand dollars a year - the cold war boils under the surface in Berlin - at least one house on your block has a television in it - and your children are asking for something called and LP record for Christmas.
Imagine it’s 1948 and you’re the richest man on earth. And you live in Dallas, Texas. That’d make you Haroldson Lafayette Hunt Jr. ----HL Hunt for short.
If you’ve never heard of HL Hunt then you’ve definitely heard of Lamar Hunt...his tenth of fifteen total children. Just imagine if Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Paul Allen were all siblings.
But before there was Lamar. Before Dallas, TX. Even before the oil fields. There was Ramsey, Illinois.
Start at the beginning. Which is where I intended to start, honestly. But the necessity to answer the question of whether or not the moniker City of Hate was being properly applied to my city became the all consuming question that ended up as episode one…. because for you the name “City of Hate” was your beginning.
But for Dallas, its beginning was the blue hills of Lincoln County Tennessee some 300 years ago...or so the story goes. On Christmas Eve 1810 in the aristocratic frontier town of Fayetteville Tennessee two Presbyterian settlers named James Bryan and Elizabeth Neely gave birth to their seventh child, John Neely Bryan. 67 years and tens of thousands of miles later John Neely Bryan would die alone in a lunatic asylum in Austin, Texas. It’s still unknown where the father of Dallas was actually buried. The conjecture betwixt the living and dying of John Neely Bryan is the focus of episode 2 of City of Hate.
There are singular moments in the history of our nation that define our way of life. They’re the things you learn about in your textbooks. A unique set of circumstances that lead to a civil war, a world war, an impeachment or even an assassination. An environment that produces the perfect conditions for a moment of clarity about our sensibilities. Not a shooting star but a black hole swallowing light before it can reach your eyes. In the early 1960s, Dallas was a living, breathing ecosystem that was incongruent with the rest of the country. And that’s the focus of episode one of City of Hate----