Best Historian 2022 | Dr. Michael Phillips | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Mike Brooks

For the past couple of years, Dr. Michael Phillips has emerged as one of North Texas' foremost free speech advocates. The former Collin College history professor is one of several educators who say they were fired for speaking out about alleged rights violations at the school. Since then, Phillips has worked with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a First Amendment watchdog, to stress the importance of academic freedom. He's also a lauded author who's researching the history of eugenics in Texas.

Lauren Drewes Daniels

Atwater Alley is a side-hustle of Henry's Majestic. There's no sign or advertising, so you have to know about it to find it. (If you're facing Henry's, go left to the end of the sidewalk, then take a right down the alley. Look for a guy sitting in a chair.) Inside is a two-story bar. On slow nights you'll find everyone upstairs in a dim room filled with booths and deep chairs. There's no cocktail menu here, just chat with the bartenders and they'll get you what you need, maybe even suggest something new. It fills up late at night. It's not necessarily a nightcap place, but something like that.

When southern Dallas needed access to fresh foods, For Oak Cliff organized a monthly farmer's market. When residents there needed air conditioners to combat the scorching heat, For Oak Cliff partnered with TXU to provide free window units and fans. When students needed school supplies, For Oak Cliff provided more than 4,000 students with backpacks, supplies and resources. Since its 2015 founding by Taylor Toynes, For Oak Cliff has become a beacon for southern Dallas residents and its impact has been profound. The organization meets emergency needs while developing a community culture that combats the cycle of poverty through education, advocacy and resources. Its work spans generations to ensure social mobility is accessible and quality of life is enhanced for all. With seven years under its belt, For Oak Cliff is just getting started.

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