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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
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
This Week in Texas Black History -- Oct. 26-Nov. 1
|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 (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 Lone Star State -- its infrastructure, image, and culture. For that, the Texas Black History Preservation Project is charting
every aspect of the black experience in Texas as an online encyclopedia.
Subscribe to our
newsletter, it's free!
Starita Smith, Ph.D., looks at an often overlooked aspect of the Underground Railroad that saw thousands of slaves escape bondage
and flee to non-slave states or across the U.S. borders to freedom. The more popular Northern routes channeled many escapees to
Canada, but a lesser known Southern path went through Texas and ended in Mexico. Smith writes, "Slavery was a primary motivation
for the opening of the West, but just as in so many other foundational events in the history of the U.S., the slavery question is often
overlooked when western history is discussed, and so is the southern route of escape from enslavement that thousands of Africans
took through Texas into Mexico." Read her entry, "A Southern Route of the Underground Railroad," here.
New Entry -- Henry Reeves, first trainer for Longhorns football team
The first black man associated with University of Texas athletics happened not to be an athlete.
However, Henry Reeves – "Doc Henry" – worked as a trainer with the football team during the
program's infancy, as "trainer, masseuse, and the closest thing to a doctor the fledgling football team
ever knew," writes Bill Little, longtime UT Athletics publicist.
A native of West Harper, Tenn., Reeves was the son of freed slaves who migrated to Texas. From 1895
through 1915, he was a fixture with the team during an era when blacks could not attend the
University of Texas and Reeves couldn’t sit in the same rail car as the players, nor could he stay with
them, eat with them, or wait for a train in the same room with them. Yet, "The Longhorn" publication
of 1914, called him, "The most famous character connected with football in the University of Texas."
Read Little's story here about the man he says "touched more football players – with his hands and
with his heart – than any man in the first 20 years of Texas athletics."
TBHPP, The Blog!
We're very happy to announce the addition of an exclusive bi-weekly blog from Prairie View A&M history professor
Ron Goodwin who will address black history and contemporary African American issues. Ron was a military “brat,”
and still considers San Antonio home. An Air Force veteran, he studied at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin and
received his undergraduate degree. He has graduate degrees from Texas Southern University. A well-published author,
his books include, "African Americans of Houston," a pictorial history of Houston’s black community and, most
recently, "Remembering the Days of Sorrow," an examination of the institution of slavery in Texas from the perspective
of the New Deal’s Slave Narratives. We hope you will follow, comment, and join in the discourse. Read it here.
28 -- English and Speech Professor Melvin Tolson organized the Forensic Society of Wiley College on this day in 1924. The debate
teams compiled a ten-year winning streak. Tolson wrote the team's speeches and the debaters memorized them with Tolson training
them on every gesture and pause. He anticipated opponents' arguments and wrote rebuttals before the actual debates. The 1935 team
won the national championship, defeating the University of Southern California. The story of that team and Tolson's leadership were
the subjects of the 2007 film "The Great Debaters."
30 -- On this day in 1974, Houston's George Foreman, heavyweight champion, lost his title to Muhammad Ali in the “Rumble in the
Jungle” in Kinshasa, Zaire. Foreman was favored to win, but in the second round, Ali began his "rope-a-dope" strategy -- leaning
against the ropes while shielding his head and absorbing body blows from Foreman. As Ali continued the tactic, Foreman tired and
his punches lost power and in the eighth round a visibly fatigued Foreman was knocked down for the first time in his career and
counted out suffering his first defeat. Years later, Foreman would say, "The day after I lost to Ali, people came by and put a hand on
my shoulder and said, 'It's okay, George. You'll have another chance.' That was pity. (I went) from being feared to being pitied.
Brother, that's a long fall."
30 – On this day in 1892, Clifton Richardson was born in Marshall, Texas. Richardson became founder (in 1919), editor and
publisher of the Houston Informer. In 1930, he had the same roles with the Houston Defender. Richardson was also a vocal
supporter of civil rights and a founding member of the Civic Betterment League (CBL) of Harris County and founding member and
later president of Houston's NAACP chapter.
31 -- On this day in 1835 a volunteer company was formed in Huntsville, Ala. to fight in the Texas Revolution. Although he was a free black, Peter
Allen, a flutist, was welcomed into the company as a musician. Allen, a native of Philadelphia, Pa. was the son of Richard Allen, founder and first
Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. On March 20, 1836, Allen and his company participated in the Battle of Coleto Creek, but
surrendered and was imprisoned by Mexican troops at Goliad. Asked by a Mexican commander to play a tune in exchange for his freedom, Allen refused
and was executed along with the rest of his company. Allen had said, “No, I’ll not play, but I’ll just go along with the rest of the boys.”
1 – In 1903, on this day, Houston music impresario Don Robey was born. Robey was influential in developing the Texas blues scene,
but he also produced major gospel talents. Robey’s music business empire included several music labels, most prominent being
Peacock Records, and his was likely the first such enterprise run by an African-American. Robey produced dozens of blues and
gospel artists, including Bobby “Blue” Bland, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Memphis Slim, Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton, the
Dixie Hummingbirds, and the Mighty Clouds of Joy.
31 -- State Senator George T. Ruby died of malaria in New Orleans on this day in 1882. Ruby had been an agent for the Freedman's
Bureau administering its schools for former slaves. In 1868 he was the only black delegate from Texas at the National Republican
Convention and also was one of 10 African American delegates to Texas Constitutional Convention of 1868-69. As a senator in the
12th Legislature Ruby was appointed to the Judiciary, Militia, Education, and State Affairs committees. He introduced successful
bills to incorporate Texas railroads and a number of insurance companies and to provide for the geological and agricultural survey
of the state. He was called "one of the most influential men of the 12th and 13th Legislatures," and one of the "most prominent black
politicians of Reconstruction."
|Texas Black History...Now
History-related news and events from African American communities around the state
Wells Fargo launches storytelling campaign
for African Americans
Wells Fargo Bank is giving everyday African Americans an opportunity to tell their stories as a way to present new and varied perspectives on what
it means to be African American. In the company's "#MyUntold" storytelling movement, members of the community are invited to submit their stories
on social media platforms in video, pictures, or words by using the phrase #MyUntold.
The program was launched on Oct. 6 after Wells Fargo spent several months recording over a hundred stories at black community events, such as
Juneteenth celebrations, in Houston and Atlanta where the company had sponsored showings of the renowned Kinsey Art Collection of artifacts and
works of art commemorating black history and culture. The exhibit was presented to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.
"It's been pretty amazing, inspiring and authentic," said Lisa Frison, Wells Fargo's African American Segment Manager for Enterprise Marketing,
Strategy and Segments. "African American history is American history, and this is a broader opportunity to get modern African Americans to tell their
The stories currently available are posted on the Wells Fargo YouTube page and include a man’s momentous conversation with Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr. on the night before King's assassination; a young woman telling how she began to see beyond race because of her experience in the military;
and a taekwondo champion sharing how her experience in the sport made her feel strong and accomplished.
#MyUnTold also connects to the company's story – a desire to recognize and respect the diversity in its customers since its founding in 1852 by Henry
Wells and William Fargo to begin serving settlers in the Western U.S. by offering banking (buying gold, and selling paper bank drafts as good as gold)
and express (rapid delivery of the gold and anything else valuable). Wells Fargo opened for business in the gold rush port of San Francisco, where the
company is still headquartered, and then in other new towns and mining camps of the West.
An instruction booklet distributed to Wells Fargo agents in 1888 noted, “Proper respect must be shown to all – let them be men, women, or children,
rich or poor, white or black – it must not be forgotten that the Company is dependent on these same people for its business.”
"This is part of our ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion," Frison said, "creating this platform to tell stories. It's important to authenticate
them. We want people to get involved in the conversation because history is being made every day, past and present. Storytelling is an important
tradition in the black community. People should take the time to document and share stories, look through photo albums, and understand the stories
behind those images. Don't let them fizzle out."
To share your untold story, simply enter the phrase #MyUntold on Facebook, Twitter, etc. To view videos from the campaign, visit the Wells Fargo
YouTube page. For suggestions on creating and sharing your story, see the Wells Fargo storytelling tip sheetclick here.