African Americans in South Texas History

African Americans in South Texas History

African Americans in South Texas History

African Americans in South Texas History


The history of South Texas is more racially and ethnically complex than many people realize. As a border area, South Texas has experienced some especially interesting forms of racial and ethnic intersection, influenced by the relatively small number of blacks (especially in certain counties), the function and importance of the South Texas cattle trade, proximity to Mexico, and the history of anti-black violence. The essays in African Americans in South Texas History give insight into this fascinating history.
The articles in this volume, written over a span of almost three decades, were chosen for their readability, scholarship, and general interest.
Jennifer Borrer
Edward Byerly
Judith Kaaz Doyle
Rob Fink
Robert A. Goldberg
Kenneth Wayne Howell
Larry P. Knight
Rebecca A. Kosary
David Louzon
Sarah R. Massey
Jeanette Nyda Mendelssohn Passty
Janice L. Sumler-Edmond
Cary D. Wintz
Rue Wood

"... a valuable addition to the literature chronicling the black experience in the land of the Lone Star. While previous studies have concentrated on regions most reflective of Dixie origins, this collection examines the tri-ethnic area of Texas adjoining Mexico wherein cotton was scarce and cattle plentiful. Glasrud has assembled an excellent group of essays from which readers will learn much."-L. Patrick Hughes, professor of history, Austin Community College


Cary D. Wintz

African American history and texas history have been intertwined since the first Africans and Europeans arrived in this part of the world. Esteban accompanied the Cabeza de Vaca expedition, and blacks accompanied Spanish and mestizo settlers into Texas in the eighteenth century. Blacks, both slave and free, inhabited Spanish Texas and Mexican Texas. With Anglo settlement came thousands more, mostly enslaved. At the time of emancipation in June 1865, over two hundred thousand blacks called Texas home. That number swelled to over six hundred twenty thousand in 1900 and more than 2.4 million a century later. Throughout the states history the great majority of Texas blacks lived in the eastern and northeastern part of the state, especially in East Texas, the Brazos River valley, and the large cities, in particular Houston and Dallas. South Texas throughout its history has been home to relatively few African American residents.

For the purposes of this study, Bruce Glasrud defines South Texas as the more-or-less trapezoid-shaped area bounded by the Gulf of Mexico on the southeast, the Rio Grande on the southwest from the gulf to Eagle Pass, then eastward through San Antonio, continuing east on Interstate 10 to the Brazos River, and from the Brazos River back to the gulf. Today this area covers some forty-three counties with a combined population of a little over 5.1 million persons, of whom almost three hundred fifty thousand (6.8 percent) are African Americans . However, three counties along the northern boundary of this region (Bexar, Fort Bend, and Brazoria counties) contain almost 78 percent of the black . . .

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