The Grand Lodge of the Colored Knights of Pythias Temple was completed in 1916. Designed by William Sidney Pittman, a renowned African American architect, it is considered one of the most distinctive buildings in the Deep Ellum district. Influential architect Pittman, married to Portia Washington, daughter of Booker T. Washington, moved to Dallas in 1913 and was the first practicing African American architect in Texas.
Through fraternal organizations such as the Knights of Pythias and Masons, as well as political activism, African Americans gained prominence in Texas. Women also found recognition as members of social and cultural organizations—such as Jack and Jill of America, Inc. and The Links—and as leaders of education, humanitarian and political causes.