Martyr’s Park - Overlooked by the thousands of commuters every day, Martyr’s Park is located just the other side of the trees from the infamous Grassy Knoll. This park commemorates the location of another form of assassination. After the July 8th, 1860 Great Fire that burned down the Dallas business district, rumors quickly spread that the fire was set by a rebellious band of slaves. The City formed the Committee of Vigilance, a group of 52 men who spent 15 days interrogating and torturing some 100 enslaved people, resulting in the “implication” of 1070 people. The city business leaders agreed it would be economically unsound to hang all 1070 slaves, so they selected 3 men: Patrick Jennings, Sam Smith, and Old Cato. They were hung on July 24th, 1860 in this park. The District Judge Nat Burford reportedly left the proceeding in disgust, stating “I didn’t think the three men were guilty, but someone had to die”. 265 Commerce St. Dallas TX.
All Images copyrighted by the artist, Brad Ford Smith 2023