Lake Highlands High School grad Collin Yarbrough will discuss his book, Paved A Way: Infrastructure, Policy, and Racism in an American City, this month at SMU.

Paved A Way tells the stories of five Dallas neighborhoods and the ways their histories were shaped by racism and economic oppression. Deep Ellum, Little Mexico, North Dallas, Tenth Street and Fair Park look nothing like they did in their heyday, and Yarbrough says those declines were intentional.

“Acknowledgement is the first step in the journey of unpacking the ways our cities are built with systems of power and erasure,” writes Yarbrough. “True reconciliation requires acknowledgement and acceptance of past injustice. In that journey, we are only at the beginning.”

Yarbrough is a graduate student in SMU’s engineering school, and he studied sustainability and development in SMU’s graduate-level program. He was inspired to write Paved A Way after learning more than 1,100 bodies from Freedman’s Cemetery were relocated for construction of Central Expressway, which he uses most every day.

Yarbrough’s discussion runs from noon to 1 Feb. 16 in the Texana Room of Fondren Library at SMU. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited, and participants must register by email with