Dallas Civil Rights Leader S.M. Wright remembered

smwrightpicsThe legacy of S.M. Wright Sr. will forever be remembered in Dallas.   Wright made it his mission to unite the city across economic, social and racial lines.

On February 7, 1927, Wright was born in one of the poorest Dallas neighborhoods, the Bon Ton community.

Wright vowed to never let his surroundings dictate his future.  He became known as a peacemaker, powerful civil rights activist and the voice of the Black community.smwrightmore

According to his son, SM Wright II, his father was determined to “be somebody,” so he focused on his education, graduating from Lincoln High School and earning a bachelor’s degree from Bishop College in Marshall, Texas. He later earned a master’s and a doctorate from Bishop College.

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A natural leader, Wright served as advisor to elected officials, businessmen, and civic leaders. He was known for his ability to unite ethnic groups peacefully. During the turbulent 1960s, Dr. Wright worked with city leaders to foster integration in education, employment, and political representation as well as in restaurants, hotels, shops, and swimming pools.

S.M. WrightDr. Wright built the People’s Missionary Baptist Church in South Dallas in 1957, also becoming Pastor of the congregation.  His son SM Wright II, now pastors the church and founded the SM Wright Foundation.  Continuing his father’s tradition, the foundation provides support and stability to underprivileged children and less fortunate families through hunger relief, economic empowerment, and assistance in the areas of education, health, and social services.

He died on November 3, 1994. To honor his legacy, then Governor George W. Bush changed the name of Highway 175 to the S.M. Wright Freeway in 1995.

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