This Week in Texas Black History -- Apr. 13-19
|Africans have had a presence in Texas for almost 500 years, maybe longer. The territory was the northernmost area of New Spain (Mexico) in 1528 when Esteban (a.k.a. Estevanico), a Moroccan
Moor servant, waded ashore with a group of Spanish conquistadors near what is now Galveston Island and established himself as the first known African in what would become Texas. Since, African
Americans have contributed significantly in all facets of the building of the state -- its infrastructure, its image, its culture. From Esteban to Beyonce, the Texas Black History Preservation Project is
charting every aspect of the black experience in Texas. Through a series of special packages, we are starting to build an online encyclopedia for all things black history in Texas. Our first offering was,
“Coming to Texas, 1528-1836,” focusing on the origins and circumstances of how blacks came to this part of the world. We also have a package of stories looking at the 1917 Houston Riots.
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|"Coming to Texas, 1528-1836"
Approximately 54% of all enslaved Africans brought to the New
World between 1519 and 1700 disembarked in Spanish America, and
New Spain (Mexico) received its share through the ports of Veracruz
where Africans were first brought and taken for work in the country's
gold and silver mines, as servants, field workers and other labors. So
numerous were Africans in New Spain that by 1570 the 20,569
Africans there were three times the Spanish population.
The Africans spread out through New Spain, including heading north
and across the Rio Grande inter-marrying with indigenous people,
running away from slavery (marronage) and starting their own
communities. Some became the first black Texans.
This package examines how Africans first came to this part of the
|Texas Black History Preservation Project
Documenting the Complete African American Experience in Texas -- "Know your history, know yourself"
|Want to submit an entry? See our submissions page for how you can contribute an entry, essay, photo or other pertinent information.
The Houston Riot/Camp Logan Mutiny
The darkest social blemish in Houston's history occurred on the steamy
night of Aug. 23, 1917. The Houston Riot, also called the Camp Logan
Mutiny, is known as the only race riot in U.S. history where more
whites (15) than blacks (4) died. The incident led to the largest court
martial in U.S. military history.
Here, the TBHPP examines that night as well as the events leading to it
and the aftermath that included 19 members of the 24th Infantry (a unit
of the famed "Buffalo Soldiers") being led to the gallows and buried in
practically unmarked graves at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. Our
- "Camp Logan Riot of 1917": An essay by Roxanne Evans and
- Angela Holder, history professor at Houston Community College,
Central Campus, is a great niece of one of the 24th Infantry
soldiers hung for alleged participation in the riot. Prof. Holder
writes a personal reflection on the riots.
- Expanded Timeline: A history of African Americans in the U.S.
- The Crisis Report -- Right's activist Martha Gruening reported on
the Houston violence for the November, 1917 edition of The Crisis
magazine, the NAACP's influential quarterly publication started
by W.E.B. DuBois.
- Video: "Buffalo Soldiers history."
Drawing by Kathleen Howell
"The Emancipation Proclamation --
Freedom Realized and Delayed"
The 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation was marked in 2013. President Abraham Lincoln signed the
proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863. The order officially freed all slaves within the states or parts of states, basically the
Confederate states, including Texas, that were in rebellion against the Union. However, the proclamation did not
apply to the one million slaves in Union territory who remained in bondage and word of the edict would not
officially reach Texas for another two and half years -- June 19, 1865. View the TBHPP special package on the
Proclamation and Juneteenth, including an essay, video, and images.
In recognizing the 127th anniversary of the founding of the Lone Star
Medical Assn., the TBHPP is presenting a wonderful exhibit on the
history of African-American physicians in Texas. Courtesy of the Texas
Medical Association, the digital exhibit highlights the struggles of early
black doctors in the state and follows pioneers such as Quinton
Belvedre Neal, the first African-American to practice medicine in Texas
in 1882 in Goliad. Some were born slaves, such as Franklin R. Robey,
MD, of Houston, some were the children of slaves. Maps, vintage
images, and a timeline trace key events starting in 1837 and continuing
until 2009 when TMA elected its first African-American president,
William H. Fleming III, MD, a Houston neurologist. Click here to view
13 -- On this date in 1924, internationally acclaimed artist, sculptor, teacher and philosopher John Biggers was born in Gastonia, North Carolina.
After studying at Hampston Institute and Penn State University, Biggers moved to Houston in 1949 and became founding chairman of the art
department at Texas Southern University, then called Texas State University for Negroes. He held the position for 34 years during which he initiated
a mural program for art majors in which every senior student was expected to complete a mural on campus: there are now 114 such murals on the
Texas Southern campus. In 1957, with the help of a grant from UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), Biggers
was one of the first American black artists to visit Africa to study African traditions and culture.
13 – On this day in 1952 David Hoskins started for the Dallas Eagles making him the first black player in the Class AA Texas League. The Eagles were
affiliated with the Cleveland Indians. Hoskins was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, on August 3, 1925 but moved to Flint, Mich. with his family in
1936. He played for the Homestead Grays in the Negro American League and in 1948 broke a color barrier as an outfielder with Grand Rapids of the
Central League. With the Eagles, Hoskins was an immediate draw and by the season's end had pitched before sellout crowds at every stadium in the
league and led the league in wins (22), complete games (26), innings pitched (280), and had an ERA of 2.12. He also hit .328 and was an all-star
selection. He was inducted into the Texas League Hall of Fame in 2004. In 1953, Hoskins was signed by the Indians and played for two seasons, 1953-
54. For his Major League career, Hoskins was 9-4 with a 3.81 ERA and .227 batting average.
14 – On this day in 1935, Julius “Jay” Parker, Jr. was born in New Braunfels. Parker attended Prairie View A&M University where he completed the
Reserve Officers Training Corps curriculum in 1955. Parker rose to the rank of major general and became the highest ranking African-American
Military Intelligence Officer in the history of the U.S. Army. He is also a direct descendant of Quanah Parker, the last chief of the Comanche nation.
16 – National Football League defensive back Dick “Night Train” Lane was born in Austin on this day in 1928. After serving in the Army during
World War II and the Korean War, Lane was signed as a free agent in 1952 with the Los Angeles Rams, though he’d only played at Austin Anderson
High School and Scottsbluff (Neb.) Junior College. During his 13-year career, Lane was known as ferocious, intimidating hitter and was responsible
for the banishment of the clothesline tackle. Lane’s 14 interceptions in 1952 still stands as an NFL record for rookies. In 1969, just four years after his
retirement, he was voted the best cornerback in the first 50 years of the NFL, and in 1974 was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In 2001, he
was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
17 – Two-time All-Pro running back Delvin Williams was born on this day in 1951 in Houston. Williams graduated from Kashmere High School in
1970, was a Parade Magazine All-American and one of the most sought after prep players in the country, recruited by every major college football
program. Williams chose the University of Kansas and four years later became a second round pick of the San Francisco Forty-Niners. He thrived in
the National Football League for eight seasons, becoming the first player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season for two different teams
(Niners and Miami Dolphins). Williams was also the first player in NFL history to set rushing records for two different teams, and to be named to the
Pro Bowl for both an AFC & NFC team.
18 – On this day in 1924, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown was born in Vinton, Louisiana. Brown was raised in Orange, Texas where he learned to play
several instruments beginning with fiddle at age 5, followed by guitar, mandolin, viola, harmonica, and drums. Brown got his nickname from a high
school teacher who said he had a voice “like a gate.” He made dozens of recordings in the 1940s and '50s, including many regional hits - "Okie Dokie
Stomp," "Boogie Rambler," and "Dirty Work at the Crossroads." He was nominated six times for Grammy Awards and was awarded one in 1983 in the
"Traditional Blues" category for his album, "Alright Again."