Heritage Trails

African-American History
Intermodal Transportation Center, 9th & Jones Streets

The first African-American residents of Fort Worth were slaves who received the delayed news of their emancipation on June 19, 1865. Those who remained in the area began to build a community on the city’s east side. A blacksmith shop operated by John Pratt was the first known African-American business. Mount Gilead Baptist Church, 600 Grove Street, was organized in 1875. The community revolved around the Fraternal Bank & Trust Co. and the Masonic Lodge, both built in 1912 by prominent businessman William Madison “Gooseneck Bill” McDonald. Loans from McDonald’s bank enabled residents to purchase homes and start businesses. The community was served by several African-American doctors, including Dr. Riley Ransom, who opened a hospital in 1918. A mural by artist Paula Blincoe Collins (along the Intermodal Transportation Center walkway) depicts Fort Worth’s early African- American history.