A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from September 07, 2008
City of Hate (Dallas nickname)

Dallas was called a “City of Hate” immediately following the November 22, 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Some people reportedly cheered the assassination. The term “City of Hate” also applied to racial segregation in Dallas. (Some historians claim that “City of Hate” was applied before the assassination, but print citations have not been found.)

Melvin Belli, attorney for Jack Ruby, called Dallas a “City of Hate” following Ruby’s trial. Belli is often credited for either coining or popularizing the nickname. After Robert Kennedy’s assassination in Los Angeles in 1968, Belli offered a semi-apology to Dallas, saying that he didn’t consider Los Angeles a “city of hate,” so Dallas shouldn’t be one, either.


Wikipedia: Dallas, Texas
Dallas (pronounced /ˈdæləs/) is the third-largest city in the state of Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The city covers 342.5 square miles (887 km2), not including water area, and is the county seat of Dallas County.[4] As of June 23, 2007, the United States Census Bureau estimates the population of Dallas at 1,232,940 people.

The city is the main economic center of the 12-county Dallas–Fort Worth metropolitan area, nicknamed “the Metroplex.” At over 6.1 million people, it is the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States.

Dallas is listed as a gamma world city by the Loughborough University Globalization and World Cities Study Group & Network.

Founded in 1841 and formally incorporated as a city on February 1856, the city’s economy is primarily based on banking, commerce, telecommunications, computer technology, energy, and transportation. Dallas is the core of the largest inland metropolitan area in the United States that lacks any navigable link to the sea. The city’s prominence despite this comes from its historical importance as a center for the oil and cotton industries, its position along numerous railroad lines, its status as a major inland port, and a strong industrial and financial sector.

Wikipedia: Melvin Belli
Melvin Mouron Belli (29 July 1907, Sonora, California – 9 July 1996, San Francisco, California, death due to pancreatic cancer, stroke and pneumonia[1]) was a prominent American lawyer known as “The King of Torts” and by detractors as ‘Melvin Bellicose’. He had many celebrity clients, including Zsa Zsa Gabor, Errol Flynn, Chuck Berry, Muhammad Ali, Sirhan Sirhan, Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Bakker, Martha Mitchell, Lana Turner, Tony Curtis, and Mae West. He won over USD $600,000,000 in judgments during his legal career.

Fort Tours - Dallas
Mike Shropshire offers the following description of Dallas in his new book, Runnin’ With the Big Dogs, about the Texas/Oklahoma football wars.

Forget the image that some people have of Dallas as this bastion of uptight Baptist intolerance. Nonsense. After Jack Ruby got sentenced to die in the Texas electric chair, to ride Old Sparky (that got overturned, most people forget), his lawyer, Melvin Belli, called Dallas “the city of hate.” C’ mon. Give it a rest. People don’t come pouring into Dallas and its pulsing neon streets to spend their money on hate. Harry Hines Boulevard, which winds out of downtown Dallas northwesterly for about ten miles, is to Dallas as the Mississippi River is to St. Louis. Taverns, smelling of Lysol and cigarette smoke that hangs in the air thick as cotton candy, line the boulevard. Next door are always places where the rooms come with little sheds where a gentlemen can conceal his automobile. I’ve been around this place a long time, and I can tell you that Dallas is okay, and around the clock the streets are alive with people loaded on everything from acid to Zoloft. Jimmy Dale Gilmore, in his song “Have You Ever Seen Dallas from a DC-9 at Night,” says that “Dallas is a rich man with a death wish in his eye.”

Most people see Dallas as something else. ..a pretty woman who likes for people to buy her nice things.


Dealey Plaza History
The “City of Hate”
Many believe that the term “City of Hate” was generated because of the extreme right-wing beliefs and political upheaval in the city during the early 1960’s. Many associate this label to the Adlai Stevenson event, when he was hit by a protest sign, and the incident where Lady Bird Johnson was spit upon. Indeed, the Dallas attitudes in the 1960’s were rather extreme, prompting 1963 Police Chief, Jesse Curry, in a speech before the President’s arrival in November ‘63, to urge the citizens to keep down trouble, and not fulfill the title “City of Hate”. But the extreme right-wing attitude of the city is not the original source of this title.

It was the Ku Klux Klan!

On Saturday, May 21, 1921, the lights on Main Street went dark at precisely 9:00 PM. From a side door emerged 800 Klansmen, who lead a torch-lit procession down Main Street, and back up Elm, while the hushed Saturday night downtown crowd watched. With this event the Ku Klux Klan ‘officially’ announced its presence within the city of Dallas. The following morning, the Dallas Morning News announced the presence of the Klan in Dallas as a slander, and the fight between the Morning News and the Ku Klux Klan was on.

27 November 1963, Modesto (CA) Bee, “Police Guard Minister Who Reviled ‘The CIty of Hate’,” pg. 1, cols. 5-7:
DALLAS, Tex.—AP—Police officers today stood guard outside the home of a minster who said in a televised interview some public school pupils cheered at word President John F. Kennedy had been shot Friday.

The Rev. William Holmes, pastor of the Northaven Methodist Church, made the statement last night on Walter Cronkite’s Columbia Broadcasting System news show.

22 December 1963, Charleston (WV) Gazette-Mail, pg. 10B, col. 1:
Editor’s note—In the first emotional aftermath of the assassination Dallas came in for a barrage of criticism as a city of bitter hate.

9 April 1964, Dallas (TX) Morning News, letters, section 3, pg. 2:
The remarks of Judge Sarah T. Hughes are typical of the liberal forces in this country today. If you have a conservative opinion you are a person of hate. If your city votes conservative that city is a city of hate.

24 May 1964, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section 3, pg. 3:
Melvin Belli sent reporters here copies of his defense to charges that he was guilty of unethical conduct during and after the Jack Ruby murder trial. Belli conceded he called Dallas “a festering sore...a city of hate,” but noted that U.S> Dist. Judge Sarah T. Hughes stated “a climate of hate here in Dallas...contributed to President Kennedy’s assassination.”

19 November 1967, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “‘City of Hate,’ in Retrospect” by Dick West, section C, pg. 2:
WAS DALLAS, four years ago this morning, a city of hate, a ruffian of the right, a cesspool of selfishness and a politicla prostitute?

6 June 1968, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Melvin Belli Alters Idea Of Dallas,” section D, pg. 4:
The man who called Dallas “the city of hate” following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy had second thoughts about the statement here Wednesday.
(...)
Belli said if he had the opportunity to change his description of Dallas he would call it a “city of intense civic pride trying to exculpate itself—the people felt in order to do this they had to convict Ruby.”

Asked by Martin if this could be construed by Dallas residents as an apology, Belli replied, “if you want to construe it as an apology, I’ll accept that.”

New York (NY) Times
25 Years After the Death of Kennedy, Dallas Looks at Its Changed Image
By PETER APPLEBOME, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES
Published: November 21, 1988
(...)
Few American cities have come under the kind of national scorn that befell Dallas in the days and weeks after President Kennedy died here. The city found itself widely condemned as a ‘’city of hate.’’ Residents of Dallas recall being refused service at restaurants in other parts of the country or facing gratuitous insults when their home became known.

Dallas (TX) Observer
One-man mayhem
Homer Henderson keeps it wild

By Matt Weitz
Published on June 19, 1997
(...)
“‘The City of Hate’ was what they called Dallas for a long time after JFK got shot,” Henderson explains.

City of Hate
Dallas, Texas USA
Tuesday, June 10, 2003
They cheered
Dallas became known as the City of Hate back in 1963 when it was widely reported that school children cheered upon hearing of the assassination of JFK. It’s a catchy name. And it rings true.
This blog isn’t about Hate per se, but being born unto Dallas, Hate will surely leave it’s mark.
# posted by Jeffrey Beaumont : 10.6.03

Dallas (TX) Observer
Sin City, Circa 1963
Fri Oct 12, 2007 at 04:00:37 PM
(...)
3 Comments:
Pawn Gallery says:
Sin City? Dallas’ nickname is and probably always will be the “City of Hate.”
That video was really creepy, thanks for posting it.
Posted at: October 13, 2007 9:49 PM

Robert Wilonsky says:
Oh, trust me—“City of Hate” is on my birth certificate. I just liked Sin City for this—seemed to fit the holier-shit-than-thou vibe of the clip, what with the fire and brimstone rhetoric. And, remember, we only got the City of Hate tag after the assassination—most of this was filmed before November 22, 1963. So, just tryin’ something different.
Posted at: October 13, 2007 11:24 PM

rheller says:
The attorney who was sickened by Dallas and could not return to his city is Melvin (not Marvin) Belli.
Posted at: October 14, 2007 6:34 AM

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Sunday, September 07, 2008 • Permalink