Brown Bag Lecture Series

Share your love of Dallas history!

Join us for a lunchtime lecture series on select Tuesdays throughout the year, as the DHS explores a variety of different topics about local and state history. CLICK HERE to join our newsletter and be notified about upcoming lectures and programming.

  • All lectures are FREE and open to the public.
  • Reservations are required and capacity is currently limited to 150 attendees.
  • Tables will be available on a first come, first serve basis.
  • Attendees are welcome to bring their own “brown bag” lunch to enjoy during the presentation.
  • Each lecture will last approximately one hour.

Jun. 7

Becoming Texans

Pictorial narratives from a 4th generation Texan

A discussion with Texas photographer Byrd Williams and oral historian Dr. Betsy Brody. Byrd Williams IV is not only a 4th generation Texan, he is a 4th generation photographer. Dr. Betsy Brody is a professor, Fulbright Scholar, and current ACLS/Mellon Fellow researching Asian foodways in Texas.  “Becoming Texans, Becoming Americans Oral History Collection” is the first collaboration for the pair. The project explores the lived experiences of Vietnamese immigrants and their families as they wove their cultural threads into the fabric of Dallas’ neighborhoods, schools, churches, temples, and jobs.

In this collection of oral history and photography, a Civil War era camera and the processing technique of “swift-toning” were used to produce companion photographs for each oral history. Together, the archived interview and photographs provide a lasting record of this piece of Texas history. Brody and Williams will share stories about the undertaking of this project as well as personal reflections from Williams detailing what it’s like to continue his legacy of the art of photography in Texas.


Jul. 12

So, You Want to Start Your Own Genealogical Research?

By Patti Huff Smith of the Dallas Genealogical Society

Join the Dallas Genealogical Society’s director of education Patti Huff Smith as she shares tips on how to start researching your family tree using easy to locate resources and what methods to use.

Patti Huff Smith is the Director of Education at the Dallas Genealogical Society and holds her membership there. She is also a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, National Genealogical Society, Texas State Genealogical Society. Patti has pursued her passion for genealogy and family research since 2013. Once introduced to DNA in 2015, she attended conferences, lectures, classes, and workshops to develop her skill in Genetic Genealogy. In December 2020, Patti completed Boston University’s Genealogy Studies Program “Certificate in Genealogical Research” to further her expertise in genealogy. She completed Your DNA Guide 5-week “The Academy DNA Skills Workshop” by Diahan Southard in February 2021. Patti worked full-time as a marketing coordinator for ten years in Dallas until March 2018. She formerly worked nine years for motivational speaker and author Zig Ziglar as a sales representative, seminar facilitator, and speaker. Patti and her husband, Gary Smith, led marriage conferences and held leadership positions in the church for 21 years


Aug. 9

History of Dallas in Film Industry

With Janis Burkland, Dallas Film Commisioner

About the speaker

Experienced Film Commissioner and Media Production professional with a demonstrated history of working in non-profit and government administration. Strong media and communication professional skilled in Media Production, Feature Films, Television, Business Development, Marketing Strategy, and Social Media. AFCI Certified Film Commissioner. Former Film Industry Location Manager.


PREVIOUS LECTURES FROM 2022

Apr. 12

A Look at Little Mexico

A lecture by Sol Villasana

Uptown Dallas was once a thriving community known as “Little Mexico”. At the conclusion of the Mexican Revolution, Mexican immigrants came to Dallas for jobs in such fields as factories, agriculture, and the railroads. By the end of the 20th century, Little Mexico had all but disappeared amidst the high rises, hotels, and office towers of Uptown. Sol Villasana will host a discussion about the neighborhood’s growth, renaissance, demise, and transition.

Sol Villasana is a Dallas lawyer, mediator, and writer. He has also taught at Southern Methodist University. Villasana is the former chair of the Hispanic Advisory Committee of the Dallas Independent School District and a former board member of the Dallas Mexican American Historical League. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Dallas Bar Association’s Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award.


May 10

The Underground Railroad in Texas

By Kyle Ainsworth

Texas is rarely mentioned in the stories recounted of how liberation was pursued by African Americans. Our state’s landscape is bare of monuments to resistance and flight, of the names or narratives of enslaved people who liberated themselves or died trying. When Texans think of emancipation, Juneteenth is likely what comes to mind—the holiday commemorating the 1865 date when Union soldiers landed in Galveston and announced emancipation. However, post emancipation, once in Mexico, the formerly enslaved continued to face many challenges and experienced freedom that was very conditional. The story of liberty in our state is much larger than Juneteenth and it started long before June 19, 1865. Join DHS for a fascinating program about these unknown settlements.

About the speaker

Kyle Ainsworth has worked as a special collections librarian at SFA since 2011. His job is to organize archival collections as well as help students, faculty and community members with their archival research. Kyle has been researching slavery in Texas since 2012 and has successfully launched two projects—the Texas Runaway Slavery Project and the Lone Star Slavery Project. Look for an article featuring his research in an upcoming issue of Smithsonian magazine.


Brown Bag Lecture Series 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019

This lecture series supported by:

Belmont Village Senior Living is designed for seniors who need some assistance with daily activities. Residents enjoy chef-prepared meals, housekeeping, transportation, and social activities.

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