The Jamison building, originally known as the Jamison-Thompson-Weatherford building, opened in 1930. It served as an office complex for African Americans and was the first building in the area built for black professionals. The Jamison building was the backbone of the African American community. This building was not just for professional use, it also served as the center of the black community, hosting many events that could not be held in other parts of town. Although the Jamison building is now vacant it served a big role in helping develop the African American community in Texarkana. The Jamison building has been a Texas Historic Landmark since 1983.
This two-story building designed by the
firm of Witt, Halsey, and Siebert still features the same red and sand-colored
brick design as it was debuted in 1930. The Black Chamber of Commerce formally
known as the Texarkana Negro Business League sponsored the opening of the
Jamison-Thompson-Weatherford building and was one of the many African
American ran and operated businesses within the building. The
building housed five offices and five suites on the second floor and on the
first floor were office spaces and an auditorium that seated up to two hundred
people. At one point the establishment
was home to three dentists, three doctors, two notaries, two insurance agents,
a realtor, a drug store, a beauty parlor, a barber shop and other such businesses. Although there were
many doctors and dentist that practiced, their work here this building was for
routine check-ups no surgeries were done inside this building. This building was not intended for just the
use of just Black businessmen in Texarkana, but it focused on reaching out and
helping the whole community. In 1935
Dunbar Highschool, an all-black high school that is not around anymore, hosted
their prom inside the Jamison building when they were not allowed to book
places they wanted. As Texarkana started its integration phase, black businesses
started leaving the Jamison building and going to better parts of town, where
they were not allowed before. The 1990s was the end of an era at the Jamison
building as all the businesses and people moved to other parts of town, but
with the building still standing today, it serves as a reminder of how people
within a community can come together to better the whole instead of themselves. The Jamison Building is
significant because it was one of the first buildings built for African
Americans by African Americans. It was
the economic center of the African American community for many years.
Garling Uriah Jamison Sr. was born in Smithville Mississippi
sometime between 1876 and 1880. He
graduated from the University of Illinois, College of Medicine and attended the
Institute of Surgery in Chicago. Jamison
began his medical practice in Texarkana in 1906. He was an active member of his community, and
eventually opened the Jamison Sanitarium where he was the chief surgeon for the
African American community. Jamison
served as president of the Texarkana Negro Business League. There objective was “unity, service and
stimulation of the desire to help not hinder the African American
To promote this mantra the Jamison
building was built. Jamison envisioned a
place for the African American community.
Jamison died on September 11th, 1951 and his buried beside
his wife at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Texarkana Ar. Dr. Garland
U. Jamison was not alone in his journey with the help of Dr. W. T.
Thompson and A. W. Weatherford, they created the Jamison-Thompson-Weatherford
building, which is known as the Jamison building now as the Jamison family
bought the rights from the other families.
Other contributors and their attributes are listed below.
Civil rights leader, Antonio Maceo Smith was born in
Texarkana on April 6, 1903. He attended
Fisk University in 1924 and went on to earn his MBA at New York University in
1928. He also went to graduate school at
Columbia Undivert for economics and business law. He was one of the co-owners of the Jamison
building, where he also ran his real estate business. He was also the master of ceremonies for the
grand opening of the Jamison Building.
He was sometimes referred to as “Mr. Civil Rights” and Mr. Organization
of Texas. Smith was on the national
board of directors for the NAACP. Smith
died on December 19,1977.
Dr. W.T. Thompson, a practicing physician and surgeon,
was one of the owners and founders of the Jamison Building. Thompson was a graduate of the Meharry
A.W. Weatherford, co-owner and founder of the Jamison
building was a Relator and a former undertaker.
He was a member of the Mosaics for 27 years and a Grand master of the Mosaics
for Texas and Oklahoma.