You might know Doug Swanson’s name. He worked at the Dallas Morning News for 34 years. Now he teaches writing at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2014, we published an excerpt of his book Blood Aces, a biography of Benny Binion, a dude who, like Doug, got his start in Dallas before heading off to teach writing to college kids (or run casinos and do mob stuff, whatever). It’s a great book. Reading it, I learned a lot about Depression-era Dallas. Highly recommended.
A while back, Doug asked if we’d be interested in running an excerpt from his newest book, Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers (not the baseball team). I asked him if there was any material in the book that dealt with Dallas, and he pointed me to a chapter about a 1930 riot and lynching in Sherman.
“Sherman ain’t exactly Dallas,” I said.
“The chapter starts with that statue of the Ranger at Love Field,” Doug said, as I recall. “His name is Jay Banks. He was sent to Mansfield High School, where he sided with a mob that was trying to keep black kids out of the school. There’s a famous picture of him leaning against a tree while a black figure hangs in effigy above the entrance to the school. There’s a through line from Banks to the lynching in Sherman. I can add some stuff about him that didn’t make it into the book.”
Fast forward a few months. After reading the story in the June issue of D Magazine, city officials decided to take down the statue. The News published a story last night about the decision, though at that point, no one knew with certainty when the statue would be removed. Ladies and gentlemen, it was removed this morning.
A huge high-five to Doug from Dallas. We miss you, man. His excerpt, with the additional Banks material, went online today.