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The Dallas Historical Society’s “This is Dallas” showcases the lives of eight great Dallasites from historically marginalized groups.

They include Alex Sanger, namesake of a Forest Hills elementary school and co-founder of the Hebrew Benevolent Association, which eventually became Temple Emanu-El.

Photo of Marcellus Clayton Cooper via findagrave.com

The exhibition, which runs through May 30 at Dallas Heritage Village at Old City Park, also includes Marcellus Clayton Cooper.

Cooper, born a slave on Caruth plantation near what is now NorthPark, was Dallas’ first Black dentist.

“He attended school in East Dallas in the Black settlements of an area near White Rock Lake,” according to the Texas State Historical Association.

The exhibition is not all dead guys.

Rodd Gray, a super volunteer whose alter ego is the drag queen Patti La Plae Safe, is also in the show.

Gray, who is a Preston Hollow hair stylist by day, has devoted hundreds of hours to safe-sex education.

A column, “Ask Patti,” for AIDS Update in the late 1980s offered a rare platform for frank discussions on how gay men could limit their exposure to HIV.

“Within a year, Patti was the United Court Empress and was traveling to events all around Texas as a missionary spreading the ‘play safe’ message and raising money for AIDS,” according to the historical society.

Others in the exhibit include:

Anita N. Martinez, who was the first Hispanic elected to the Dallas City Council,

Maggie Wu, publisher of The Asian Magazine,

A. Maceo Smith, a voting- and civil-rights champion,

Grace Danforth, a gynecologist and suffragist who also founded the mental asylum that preceded Terrell State Hospital, and

Quanah Parker, a leader of the Comanche Nation.


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