The Joppa neighborhood is located in southeast Dallas, approximately six miles from downtown Dallas. It is considered a historic area due to the freed slaves of the nearby Miller plantation settling in Joppa in the late 1860’s to early 1870’s. After the emancipation of the slaves, more than thirty “Freedman” towns developed throughout the Dallas region. Today however, according to Preservation Dallas, only three of these freedman communities still exist with virtually no other freedman community as well preserved as Joppa. Because of its natural, preserved habitat, it provides a wealth of opportunities, such as the Trinity River Project and the Preserved Amenities. In addition, the residents are proud of their heritage and accustomed to their way of life and would like to maintain some of the “rural” and natural characteristics that have defined the neighborhood for over 100 years.
Currently, the population of Joppa is less than 500 people. However, the community has established a proactive plan to enhance the neighborhood’s quality of life starting with branding themselves as a historic district. The citizens want to honor their forefathers by having street sign toppers installed at each intersection. As a result, Joppa’s community liaison reached out to the office of Planning & Neighborhood Vitality (PNV) for assistance. The first phase of this endeavor was to meet with the Council member of district 7, Ms. Carolyn Davis. The next step consisted of creating a map of the entire Joppa community displaying all streets and intersections. When the map was completed, the City of Dallas’ Streets Department created a design and produced street toppers. As of March 21st, every street sign (33) in the Joppa community has a historical street-sign topper. While this accomplishment may seem minute to some, for the citizens of Joppa it is a major milestone and has enhanced their community spirit. The street-sign toppers will be dedicated during a ceremony at their annual Juneteenth celebration.