Last Friday, several members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra pulled their mobile concert truck into the Joppa neighborhood of south Dallas. And soon, a tiny outdoor concert was underway: a tribute to the tenacity of residents in an underserved neighborhood who had raised their voices in protest and literally moved a mountain.
The idea of playing there would have been laughable not long ago. Nearby was a 100,000-ton, 60-foot-high pile of roofing waste, part of an illegal dumping and recycling operation that spewed industrial noise and toxic dust into the largely Black and Latino neighborhood. Complaints of residents like Marsha Jackson initially went unheard, reinforcing a long history of neglect of the area.
But Shingle Mountain is now gone, the result of sustained pressure on the city to act. And Quincy Roberts, a Black resident of Dallas who grew up nearby, and whose trucking firm just completed the massive cleanup, decided to reinforce a different message: that the neighborhood is valued. A trained tenor who sits on the board of the Dallas Symphony, he rallied fellow musicians. And on Friday afternoon, Ms. Jackson and friends and family settled into folding chairs to listen to piano four hands, violin duets, and tenor Lawrence Brownlee’s rendition of “All Night, All Day (Angels Watching Over Me).”
It was a caring tribute, done without public fanfare for a group who persisted in being heard. As Mr. Brownlee said of his song: “It’s to say she and so many people are important.”