History of Jack Lowe Sr.
After the 1930s, Dallas was controlled in all aspects by the Dallas Citizens Council, a group of about two hundred men who had both achieved unusual success in their careers and demonstrated an unusual willingness to work on projects they believed would help build a great city. In 1954 with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to end racial segregation in public schools, the Citizens Council soon acknowledged that desegregation was inevitable, and they sought to make the best of it. The first step was the formation of the Biracial Committee. For the most part, the Citizens Council had already decided what to do, and the Biracial Committee helped get it done. They decided to prepare for school desegregation by desegregating the community bit by bit.
By 1960, changes were in place, but in one respect, nothing much had happened. Desegregation was still only tolerated, not embraced, by the general public. Lowe saw the first racial changes from his position as president and chairman of the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association. By the early 1960s, he was on the board of the Salesmanship Club, and by 1965, he was president of the Salesmanship Club and a member of the Citizens Council. In 1968, he was entrusted with leadership of the Greater Dallas Council of Churches and then the Community Relations Commission, both of which pushed him into the center of local race relations.
In 1971 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that students could be bused in order to achieve racial desegregation, and after a compelling presentation by a group of young, minority men known as the “Dirty Dozen,” the Chamber of Commerce established a small Urban Affairs Office. The Urban Affairs Committee guided the Chamber’s urban program which set about trying to address problems identified by the Dirty Dozen. Lowe was a member of this committee. It became clear to the committee that solving social problems would require involvement from more people and a more representative group of people, but they knew minorities would never participate in an organization controlled by the Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber of Commerce agreed to fund the new Dallas Alliance, and both the leadership and minorities in the Alliance looked to Lowe for assurance. In 1975, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans remanded U.S. District Judge William M. Taylor’s desegregation order and a new plan was called for. Taylor challenged the city to come up with solutions and to help make them work. He offered amicus curiae, or “friend of the court,” status to any group willing to get involved in the effort, and in the fall of 1975, he approached Lowe with the idea of getting the city’s three largest ethnic groups to talk together in some semblance of equality and reach an agreement that would satisfy the great majority of the people. The Dallas Alliance Task Force was formed.
The Task Force membership fell into several informal groupings that generally reflected the racial or ideological make-up of the city, and the Task Force operated on the idea that developing the ability to agree was its most important goal. If a certain topic was going to be discussed at the next meeting, Lowe made sure to talk to everyone individually on the topic beforehand so he knew the direction to take the meeting. The Task Force came close to falling apart came later on during a crucial period when Lowe was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. He had a pacemaker implanted, and his absence meant Task Force discussions broke down almost immediately. But a quick recovery was made, both for Lowe and the Task Force. The Task Force reached an agreement and presented its plan for desegregating Dallas public schools to Judge Taylor. The plan was accepted essentially as written.
The Lowe Family today