History of the African Americans in Houston

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African American Library at the Gregory School, located in the Fourth Ward in Houston

Historically Houston has had a significant African American population.

History[edit]

From the 1870s to the 1890s, black people were almost 40% of Houston's population. Between 1910 and 1970 the black population ranged from 21% to 32.7%.[1] The Houston Riot of 1917 was a riot of black U.S. soldiers stationed in Houston.

Texas Southern University students led the integration of Houston in the 1960s. Six months after their first sit-in, 70 Houston lunch counters were desegregated. The success of their continued efforts eventually led to the full integration of businesses within the city.[2]

In 1970, 90% of the black people in Houston lived in mostly African-American neighborhoods. By 1980 this decreased to 82%.[3]

Historically the City of Houston placed most of its landfill facilities in African-American neighborhoods. All of the landfills were established after the neighborhoods they were located in had been established as black communities. Private companies also located landfills in black neighborhoods. Between the early 1920s and the late 1970s the five municipal sanitary landfills were in black neighborhoods. During the same period, six of the eight municipal solid waste incinerators resided in mostly black neighborhoods. From 1970 to 1978 three of the four private landfills established during that period were located in Houston black neighborhoods.[3]

Around that era African Americans made up around 25% of the city's population. Houston City Council, which decided where the landfills would be located, was entirely composed of white people until 1972.[4] The political efforts and advocacy behind a 1979 federal lawsuit regarding one proposed landfill lead to political changes that ended the deliberate placement of landfills in black neighborhoods.[4][5]

As of 1987 most African Americans in Houston continued to live in mostly inner-city black neighborhoods, even though they gained the legal right to move to a neighborhood of any race. A University of Chicago researcher said that this is because many African Americans choose to live in neighborhoods where they were raised.[6]

From the 1980 U.S. Census to the 1990 U.S. Census, many African Americans left traditional African-American neighborhoods such as the MacGregor area, Settegast, Sunnyside, and the Third Ward and entered parts of Southwest Houston, such as Alief, Fondren Southwest, Sharpstown, and Westwood.[7]

By of 2005 the outflow from traditional black neighborhoods, such as the Third Ward, Sunnyside, Kashmere Gardens, and the Fifth Ward continued, with blacks moving to Alief, other parts of Southwest Houston, Missouri City, and northwestern suburbs. Around 2005 blacks began to move to an area around Farm to Market Road 1960, in an unincorporated area in Harris County. In many traditional inner-city black neighborhoods, Mexicans and Latinos moved in their place.[8] In addition to the New Great Migration, many blacks have moved to Houston for lower cost of living and job opportunities.[9]

An additional 150,000 to 200,000 mostly black evacuees arrived in 2005 from the New Orleans metro after Hurricane Katrina, with many of them deciding to stay.[10]

Commerce[edit]

African Americans tend to be the main clientele of Houston's "you buy, we fry" fish restaurants. As of 2004, the city's highest concentration of those restaurants is in the Third Ward, a predominately African-American neighborhood.[11]

Cuisine[edit]

The Louisiana Creole people who settled Houston around the 1920s brought their cuisine with them and often sold the food. The cuisine style spread in Houston in the post-World War II era.[12] Because of the post-World War II increase, various chains in the Houston area sell Creole food, including Frenchy's Chicken, Pappadeaux, and Popeye's.[13] Creole food items include boudin, black rice and shrimp creole, crawfish, gumbo, and jambalaya.[12] Bernadette Pruitt, author of The Other Great Migration: The Movement of Rural African Americans to Houston, 1900-1941, wrote that Creole cooking became "an important cultural bridge" in the city and in its African American community, and that "As cooks, Creole housewives transformed Houston's typical southern cuisine."[12]

Cultural Institutions[edit]

The Houston Museum of African American Culture (HMAAC) is located in the Houston Museum District.[14]

Houston Black Chamber of Commerce.[15]

The University Museum located on the campus of Texas Southern University is an art gallery that emphasizes art by and about people in the African diaspora.[16]

Politics[edit]

Lee P. Brown, elected in 1997, was the first black Mayor of Houston.[17] He was the city's 50th mayor.[18]

As of 1997, African Americans typically constituted less than 25% of the electorate of the City of Houston. For the election of Lee P. Brown, blacks may have made up over 33% of the turnout. Brown won 90% or more in African-American neighborhoods.[19]

As of 2005 Sheila Jackson Lee, a Houstonian, is one of two black Texan U.S. House of Representatives members.[20]

Religion[edit]

The number of African American Catholics in Houston increased after the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 affected rural areas in the Southern United States.[21] Most of them moved to the Fifth Ward.[22] Due to a perception of the Catholic church being more favorable to African Americans than Protestant churches, the Catholic church in Houston increased in popularity with African Americans in the 1930s.[23]

The oldest Black Baptist church in Houston is the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, historically a part of the Fourth Ward and now in Downtown Houston.[24] Jack Yates once served as the pastor of this church.[25]

The city's first black Catholic church was St. Nicholas, located in the Third Ward.[26] The Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church in the Fifth Ward, Houston's second black Catholic church, was officially founded in June 1929.[27]

In the 1920s, prior to the construction of Our Mother of Mercy, a group of Louisiana Creole people attended the Hispanic Our Lady of Guadalupe Church because OLG was the closest church to the Frenchtown area of the Fifth Ward.[26] Because the OLG church treated the Creole people in a discriminatory manner, by forcing them to confess and take communion after people of other races did so and after forcing them to take the back pews,[28] the Creoles opted to build their own church.[29]

Media[edit]

The Houston Forward Times, which began publication in 1960,[30] is the largest black-owned newspaper in the city.[31] The Houston Defender and the African-American News and Issues are other black-owned papers.

The Houston Informer and Texas Freeman was a black-owned newspaper.[23]

Education[edit]

Texas Southern University, a historically black university, is in Houston. Prairie View A&M University is in Prairie View, Texas (immediately northwest of Houston).

Historically predominately black high schools in Houston include:

Historically predominately black middle schools include:

The Imani School is marketed towards African-American families.[32]

Culture and recreation[edit]

The Ensemble Theatre, an African-American theater company, has its studio in Midtown. The theater, founded by George Hawkins in 1976, is the largest African-American theater company in the United States.[33]

Martin Luther King Day[edit]

There are two rival Martin Luther King Day parades held every year. The MLK Grande Parade is held by the MLK Parade Foundation,[34] and the other, the Original MLK Birthday Parade,[35] is held by the Black Heritage Society. As of 2007 Ovide Duncantell is the executive director of the Black Heritage Society and Charles Stamps is the CEO of the MLK Parade Foundation.[34]

Previously there was one MLK day parade held annually,[36] and Stamps was a part of Duncantell's organization.[34] In 1995, Stamps left and formed a separate parade. The two parades began competing for the favored times and days to hold their events. By 2007 the City of Houston had regulations stating that one parade can be held in Downtown Houston on a particular day. The Black Heritage Society and Duncantell sued the city in 2007 after Duncantell did not get the permit, arguing that several provisions of the ordinance enforcing the one parade per day in Downtown rule were unconstitutional.[36] In 2007 Lee Rosenthal, a U.S. district judge, on Wednesday January 10, 2007 ordered the city government to allow both parades to hold their events in Downtown Houston.[34] By 2008 the one parade per day rule, with the prized parade day decided by a coin toss, was again in place.[37]

The Houston Press had ranked the 2006 MLK day parade, when the two rival parades joined together, as the "Best Parade Houston 2006".[38]

In addition, service projects and voter registration drives occur on MLK day in Houston.[35]

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Treviño, Robert R. The Church in the Barrio: Mexican American Ethno-Catholicism in Houston. UNC Press Books, February 27, 2006. 29. Retrieved from Google Books on November 22, 2011. ISBN 0-8078-5667-3, ISBN 978-0-8078-5667-3.
  2. ^ http://articles.latimes.com/1998/feb/11/entertainment/ca-17755
  3. ^ a b Finkel, Adam N. Worst Things First?: The Debate Over Risk-Based National Environmental Priorities. Resources for the Future, 1995. 249. Retrieved from Google Books on October 6, 2011. ISBN 0-915707-76-4, ISBN 978-0-915707-76-8
  4. ^ a b Gaventa, John, Barbara E. Smith, and Alex W. Willingham. Communities in Economic Crisis: Appalachia and the South. Temple University Press, 1990. 196. Retrieved from Google Books on October 6, 2011. ISBN 0-87722-650-4, ISBN 978-0-87722-650-5.
  5. ^ Gaventa, John, Barbara E. Smith, and Alex W. Willingham. Communities in Economic Crisis: Appalachia and the South. Temple University Press, 1990. 197. Retrieved from Google Books on October 6, 2011. ISBN 0-87722-650-4, ISBN 978-0-87722-650-5.
  6. ^ Greene, Andrea D. "Residents of black areas cite reasons for not moving out." Houston Chronicle. Wednesday December 30, 1987. Section 1, Page 16. Retrieved on January 13, 2011.
  7. ^ Rodriguez, Lori. "Census tracks rapid growth of suburbia." Houston Chronicle. Sunday March 10, 1991. Section A, Page 1. Retrieved on October 23, 2011.
  8. ^ Rodriguez, Lori. "SHIFTING DEMOGRAPHICS / Latinos bringing change to black neighborhoods / Newcomers are finding acceptance comes gradually." Houston Chronicle. Monday May 2, 2005. A1. Retrieved on February 4, 2009.
  9. ^ http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2014/0316/Why-African-Americans-are-moving-back-to-the-South
  10. ^ http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/08/12/katrina.houston/
  11. ^ Walsh, Robb. "Southern-Fried Asian to Go." Houston Press. Thursday August 5, 2004. 1. Retrieved on January 20, 2012.
  12. ^ a b c Pruitt, Bernadette. The Other Great Migration: The Movement of Rural African Americans to Houston, 1900-1941 (Sam Rayburn Series on Rural Life, sponsored by Texas A&M University-Commerce). Texas A&M University Press, October 24, 2013. ISBN 1603449485, 9781603449489., p. 78.
  13. ^ Pruitt, Bernadette. The Other Great Migration: The Movement of Rural African Americans to Houston, 1900-1941 (Sam Rayburn Series on Rural Life, sponsored by Texas A&M University-Commerce). Texas A&M University Press, October 24, 2013. ISBN 1603449485, 9781603449489., p. 78.
  14. ^ Home page. Houston Museum of African American Culture. Retrieved on February 19, 2014. "4807 Caroline Street Houston, TX 77004"
  15. ^ http://ghbcc.com/about-us/
  16. ^ http://www.umusetsu.org/
  17. ^ Verhovek, Sam Howe. "Houston Elects Lee Brown As Its First Black Mayor." The New York Times. December 8, 1997.
  18. ^ Dunham, Richard. "Today in Texas History: Lee Brown becomes Houston’s first African American mayor." Houston Chronicle. January 2, 2010. Retrieved on December 14, 2014.
  19. ^ Fleck, Tim. "The Insider." Houston Press. Thursday November 13, 1997. 1. Retrieved on November 5, 2011.
  20. ^ Lindsey, William D. and Mark Silk (editors). Religion and Public Life in the Southern Crossroads: Showdown States (G - Reference,Information and Interdisciplinary Subjects Series Volume 5 of Religion by region). Rowman Altamira, 2005. ISBN 0759106339, 9780759106338. CITED: p. 144.
  21. ^ Pruitt, p. 114.
  22. ^ Pruitt, p. 114-115.
  23. ^ a b Pruitt, p. 116.
  24. ^ Davis, Rod. "Houston's really good idea Bus tour celebrates communities that forged a city." San Antonio Express-News. Sunday August 3, 2003. Travel 1M. Retrieved on February 11, 2012.
  25. ^ "YATES, JOHN HENRY." Handbook of Texas Online.
  26. ^ a b Steptoe, Tyina Leaneice (University of Wisconsin-Madison). Dixie West: Race, Migration, and the Color Lines in Jim Crow Houston (PhD thesis for a history degree). ProQuest, 2008. ISBN 0549635874, 9780549635871. p. 195.
  27. ^ Catholic Youth Organization, Diocese of Galveston. Houston District. Centennial: The Story of the Kingdom of God on Earth in that Portion of the Vineyard which for One Hundred Years Has Been the Diocese of Galveston. Catholic Youth Organization, Centennial Book Committee, 1947. p. 76. "Our Mother of Mercy Church, the second Negro parish to be established in Houston, was founded in June, 1929. Bishop Christopher E. Byrne purchased two city blocks, on Sumpter Street, and ground was[...]" ("Negro" is an outdated term for African-American).
  28. ^ Steptoe, Tyina Leaneice (University of Wisconsin-Madison). Dixie West: Race, Migration, and the Color Lines in Jim Crow Houston (PhD thesis for a history degree). ProQuest, 2008. ISBN 0549635874, 9780549635871. p. 195-196.
  29. ^ Steptoe, Tyina Leaneice (University of Wisconsin-Madison). Dixie West: Race, Migration, and the Color Lines in Jim Crow Houston (PhD thesis for a history degree). ProQuest, 2008. ISBN 0549635874, 9780549635871. p. 196.
  30. ^ "Houston Forward Times." Handbook of Texas. Retrieved on March 17, 2014.
  31. ^ Allen, Carol M. "What Came Before" (Chapter 1). In: Allen, Carol M. (editor). Ending Racial Preferences: The Michigan Story (Lexington Studies in Political Communication). Lexington Books, February 5, 2009. ISBN 0739138294, 9780739138298. p. 23.
  32. ^ Churches Bestow Aid `to Save the Soul of the Community' Series: CRITICAL CONDITION: THE STATE OF AMERICA'S CITIES Series Number: occ." The Washington Post. September 21, 1993. A01. Retrieved on October 18, 2011. Available on LexisNexis.
  33. ^ Allman-Baldwin, Lysa. "Article: Ebony Escapes! to Houston." New York Amsterdam News. July 6, 2005. Retrieved on May 23, 2010. "Midtown Houston is home to The Ensemble Theatre Founded in 1976 by the late George Hawkins. The Ensemble has evolved to be the largest African[...]"
  34. ^ a b c d Stiles, Matt. "Rival MLK parades will both march downtown." Houston Chronicle. January 11, 2007. Retrieved on May 20, 2014.
  35. ^ a b "TWO PARADES HELD IN HOUSTON TO HONOR MLK" (Archive). KTRK-TV. Retrieved on May 21, 2014.
  36. ^ a b Stiles, Matt. "MLK group sues city in decade-old parade flap." Houston Chronicle. January 6, 2007. Retrieved on May 21, 2014.
  37. ^ "Two parades will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. birthday." Houston Chronicle. January 17, 2008. Retrieved on May 20, 2014.
  38. ^ "Best Parade Houston 2006 - Martin Luther King Day Parade." Houston Press. Retrieved on May 21, 2014.

External links[edit]