History of African Americans in Texas

African Americans formed a unique ethnic identity in Texas while facing the problems of societal and institutional discrimination as well as colorism for many years. The first person of African heritage to arrive in Texas was Estevanico, who came to Texas in 1528.[1]

Many African Americans in Texas remained in slavery until after the U.S. Civil War ended. There was scarce Union Army activity in Texas, preventing them from joining the Northern lines. Some escaped over the borders to areas where the Union Army was operating. The announcement of emancipation happened to be delayed until June 19, 1865, when officials announced that slavery had been formally abolished. This is celebrated in Texas as "Juneteenth."[1] The long-term effects of slavery can be seen to this day in the state's demographics. The eastern quarter of the state, where cotton production depended on thousands of slaves, is considered the westernmost extension of the Deep South. It contains a very significant number of Texas' African-American population. [1]

A 2014 University of Texas at Austin study stated that the state's capital city of Austin was the only U.S. city with a fast growth rate that was losing African Americans due to suburbanization and gentrification.[2]

There are seven historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in Texas. Texas Southern University (largest) and Prairie View A&M University (second largest) are the two most notable HBCUs in Texas and annually produce a significant portion of degreed African-American Texans. The schools are also major SWAC sports rivals.

Texas has one of the largest African-American populations in the country.[3] African Americans are concentrated in northern, eastern and east central Texas as well as the Dallas, Houston and San Antonio metropolitan areas.[4] African Americans form 24 percent of both the cities of Dallas and Houston, 19% of Fort Worth, 8.1 percent of Austin, and 6.9 percent of San Antonio. They form a majority in sections of eastern San Antonio, southern Dallas, eastern Fort Worth, and southern Houston. In addition to the descendants of the state's former slave population, many African American college graduates have come to the state for work recently in the New Great Migration.

See also


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