June is a big month in Deep Ellum as the excitement for summer, live music, and rooftop patios begins to ramp up. But even more than that, June is Immigrant Heritage Month, which is an incredibly significant part of Deep Ellum’s past, present, and future.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Deep Ellum was hitting its stride as a neighborhood for culture, steady employment, and opportunity for the Black Americans who settled the area years earlier. As Europeans began immigrating to the US for new opportunities, many who arrived in the port of Galveston made their way to Dallas and settled in the city, including in Deep Ellum. As this immigrant population begin to settle alongside the African American community, due to their marginalization in other neighborhoods, the two groups started to form a purposefully desegregated area within Deep Ellum.
Steadily, the immigrant population opened numerous pawn shops, tailors, and grocery stores that defined stretches of Deep Ellum. Unlike other businesses run by white owners, Black residents of Deep Ellum could shop for clothes and other goods at immigrant-run businesses without fear of judgement or racism. Equally, the immigrant community could indulge and enjoy the culture, arts, and music that was made popular by Deep Ellum’s Black creators. This community that was forged by mutual respect and trust, helped define the openness that Deep Ellum would become known for.
Well-known figures of Deep Ellum with European roots like Rubin Goldstein, Rocky Goldstein, and Cyrill Pokladnik paved the way for those who have immigrated to the US to find a home in Deep Ellum. Today, across the district, you can see the influence of immigrant business owners and creators around every corner. Whether at long-standing businesses like Rudolph’s and Sons of Hermann Hall, newer restaurants such as Revolver Taco Lounge and NIWA Japanese BBQ, or through the work of artists like Hatziel Flores and Dan Colcer, we can celebrate Immigrant Heritage in Deep Ellum all the time!