Jim Schutze’s Seminal Book on Running in Dallas, Accommodation, Ready for Republication

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Dallas writer Jim Schutze continues to stir the crap even in retirement.

Jim schutze

Some considered it to be Dallas’ most dangerous book, a nickname coined by D Magazine years after its publication. Accommodation: the politics of race in an American city, traces race relations and politics in Dallas, from slavery to the early 1980s.

He argues that slavery was more cruel in North Texas than in the Old South and looks at the results of the civil rights movement missing in Dallas when the black clergy turned down Martin Luther King Jr. He also focuses on white Dallas residents bombing the homes of black WWII veterans to force them out of predominantly white neighborhoods.

The book is important to modern readers for several reasons, according to a March 1987 report D Magazine article: “to better understand why some black people continue to distrust the police … to understand why the black community produces political leaders who seem to aim more at confrontation than consensus, and statistics of black poverty and crime.”

The book experienced a series of woes before and after publication, from the original publisher killing the book after allegedly succumbing to pressure from the Dallas Citizens Council, to a warehouse fire that destroyed 2,000 of 5,000 copies. limited prints.

Considering who wrote the book, it’s easy to see why the council may have tried to bury him. For more than 40 years, since his arrival at the Dallas Times Herald from Detroit Free Press at the end of the 70s, old Observer columnist Jim Schutze has brandished a stake against the council. He brandished several more at the Dallas office of Houston Chronicle, to Dallas Watcher and D Magazine.

Schutze is now retired, but continues to spin words on Facebook as Mark Zuckerberg does not put him in jail on Facebook for violating what Zuckerberg considers ethical.

Today, Schutze Accommodation has become the holy grail for rare book collectors in North Texas. The first hardcover edition sells for $ 1,204.55 on Amazon.

Fortunately, Gen X, Y, and Z decided to turn it into a pirate PDF and share it online for free. They also created a Twitter account, @ accommodation87, for the book in June 2020, and began sharing it – verbatim – in tweets on Twitter.

Now Deep Vellum, a publishing house of Deep Ellum, plans to reissue Schutze’s book in September. Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, a former friend of Schutze’s, wrote the forward.

“Deep Vellum is hopeful that the reissue opens the dialogue about race and Dallas’ place in the national conversation,” the publishing company said in a July 21 press release. “Most importantly, Deep Vellum recognizes that this broader outing is only one facet of the dialogue around the race in Dallas and America as a whole. The publisher is eager to resuscitate a book that has been out of print for 35 years.

“I think my mother was the only white person who read it.” – journalist Jim Schutze

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The new version probably won’t do much to lower the price of the First Edition’s hardcover on Amazon, but it will make it more affordable – $ 30 for the hardcover – for North Texans interested in the hardcover. racist history of Dallas.

“I have a friend who is part of the rare book collection,” says Schutze. “I told him my book is an instant rare book, and he said, ‘This is not a good thing and this is not the right kind of rare book. ”

But Schutze was the right kind of storyteller to broach the subject in the early 1980s. He was the only white journalist willing to ask the questions and sniff out the answers. It also turned out that he was in the right place at the right time.

When he arrived in the late 1970s, Dallas looked a lot like what it is today, a “Bible belt mecca with a high fever in the midst of an oil and real estate boom,” Schutze writes. in Soaking cabin, a 2013 book – “not a memoir” – on his life as a journalist. “The whole town was seized in a frenzy of greed as if silver caves had been discovered and everyone knew where they were except me. ”

Downtown Dallas reminded him of Manhattan with cars filling the streets, honking their horns all day long, while people, leaning forward and red in the face, walked as if they were “rushing with wheelbarrows.” It wasn’t what he expected. All he knew about Dallas was what almost everyone in Detroit would tell him when he told them he was moving, “Oh, are you going to the town that killed Kennedy?” ”

An editor of the Times-Herald planted the first seed of Accommodation when he gave Schutze an overview of the city’s power structure. “The real power in the city lay in a secret cabal called the Dallas Citizens Council,” Schutze writes in Soaking cabin. “All the towns in the South had been dominated by such groups until the 1960s, but in most of these towns the civil rights movement had blown the old citizens’ councils out of the water and forced the return of electricity in the public space.

Schutze says that six years later, in 1984, he realized that “Dallas was weird about the breed.”

“I spoke to people from other parts of Texas and they accepted,” he says. “A lot of people coming around agreed.”

His conversations about Dallas and race led him to an editor at Taylor Publishing, best known for directory printing, in downtown Dallas. The editor was a bright young man, hired in New York, and a former assistant to Jackie Kennedy, who became a book editor after her husband was murdered in Dallas. He was looking to expand Taylor’s publishing portfolio and seemed to think Schutze was the writer to help him do it.

“I was the first and the last,” says Schutze.

Accommodation It was not an idea that Schutze presented to the publisher. It was an idea the publisher shared with him, one that was recounted by Peter Johnson, a former bodyguard of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a representative of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Dallas. He had tried to write a story about why the civil rights movement never happened in Dallas, why the black clergy in Dallas rejected it, and why the city, which held impending estate, was valuing the rights. properties of black landowners at half of what they appraised in white. properties of landowners. He had come to Dallas to show a film about King in order to raise money for King’s family and participated in a hunger strike on the front steps of City Hall, which Schutze says city leaders de Dallas had never seen it before, but as Schutze puts it, the publisher decided Johnson “wasn’t an author” and asked Schutze to write it.

Schutze was not a negro either. He made it clear to Johnson, who agreed and told him, as Schutze recalls, “All I care about is this story being told.”

“Peter knew that shit about paying half to black people went to the Supreme Court and they said, ‘No you can’t do that. … Cannot have a second-class market value called Black, ”says Schutze. “He knew the shit the city was doing was illegal and unconstitutional. ”

Over the next two years, Schutze lived in the public library and breathed history when he was awake. He was learning all kinds of interesting historical facts about Dallas, his love for the Klu Klux Klan, and the response of the local black community. “They weren’t rebels,” he says. “They didn’t want black New York lawyers getting into trouble. They were scared to death. Their response: “All the hippies and troublemakers stir up the shit, and you go and we have the fucking KKK watching us.”

Schutze couldn’t help but discuss the book. He told a colleague from Times-Herald which, in turn, “goes straight to the retired CEO of the Dallas Citizens Council who goes to Taylor Publishing and says, ‘The person who writes your book for you is a Communist and if you publish this book, your ass is grass. Police officer [the editor] calls me and says, “Who did you tell about that fucking book?”

They had no choice but to shove the unfinished manuscript at the printer. “But then they changed their minds and didn’t think it was a good book.”

A New York Times The story of the publisher’s suppression of the book sparked the interest of a New Jersey publisher who agreed to publish 5,000 copies of a 100-page book. The Dallas warehouse fire followed, turning 2,000 of them to ashes.

“I think my mother was the only white person who read it,” says Schutze. “It was read by a lot of black people in South Dallas and distributed. It took a long time to get to the library … and [they] deliberately mis-cataloged. If you look under black history, it wouldn’t be there.

Thirty-five years later, Deep Vellum publishes in Deep Ellum wants to insure Accommodation is remembered under Black History. Schutze called it a “non-profit company”. Will Evans, the founder of Deep Vellum, said Spectrum News Thursday, “It’s essential work on Dallas history that opens the door to broader conversations about the stories we need to tell about the city we call our home.”

But Schutze has expressed no interest in participating in the new edition of the book. He had sold the rights in the 90s to Commissioner Price, who gave Evans his blessing to republish the book and wrote an updated prologue.

“I just said, ‘Cool. Awesome. Do it. Don’t oppose it, ”says Schutze. “… He said it would serve the public good to repost. I said it was great. That was my feeling with the PDF. The book had a chance to make money. Anyone who is still interested should be able to read it for free.

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