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African Americans in South Texas History

Edited by Bruce A. Glasrud

Publication Year: 2011

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. Contributors: 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

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Series: Perspectives on South Texas Series, sponsored by Texas A&M University-Kingsville


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-x

... 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 ...

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pp. xi-xii

... a fall 2008 lunch gathering of South Texas historians, aka the Victoria Secrets, the question raised was “Where/what is South Texas?” The essential element to this question, we determined, was “What are the boundaries of South Texas?” Upon perusing a map, and with considerable discussion, some of it knowledgeable, some from former Yankees, the conclusion—although not ...

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pp. 1-28

... first African American s to enter South Texas came with Spanish explorers, and thousands more came later as slaves from the United States, in the tow of Anglo owners. Later still—after the Civil War—freed blacks often migrated to Texas for a better life than they could expect in their home states, especially in the deep South. In 1877 one such former slave, Solomon Melvin ...

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Defending the Unnecessary

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pp. 29-45

... San Antonio is usually perceived as a Mexican or Mexican American city, from 1845–61 it was an antebellum southern city. Its location and the domination of the city’s government by Anglos caused the city to embrace that most distinctive of all southern institutions, slavery1—which, though neither numerically large nor economically significant, was important in San Antonio. ...

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Just Southwest of Dixie

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pp. 46-64

... have produced numerous studies on Reconstruction in Texas since the mid-twentieth century, but they have generally focused on regions in East Texas where African American populations were concentrated. This was natural considering that federal officials between 1865 and 1876 devoted most of their time to protecting the newly freed slaves and white Unionists from ...

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“Wantonly Maltreated and Slain, Simply Because They Are Free”

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pp. 65-84

... San Antonio Express-News warned in February of 1894 that colonizing African Americans in Liberia to alleviate the “race problem” in Texas was a risky proposition. Not because the state of Texas or the southern region of the United States might lose a large proportion of agricultural laborers, and certainly not ...

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After Emancipation

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pp. 85-98

... on U.S. Highway 59 near the Victoria County line in eastern Goliad County, about two hours south of San Antonio, is a highway sign for Cologne, a town that has a unique place in Texas history. Today, there is no town, only three collapsed homes, but in 1877, a small village blossomed that was home to freed slaves of Victoria County and that excluded white inhabitants ...

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The Forging of the African American Community in Corpus Christi, Texas,1865–1900

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pp. 99-132

... recently, the African American experience in Texas had not been as thoroughly studied as in other southern states. This can partly be attributed to the fact that slavery in the state became a significant and visible institution only during the thirty years before the Civil War. In addition, Texas is commonly associated with the West, not the South, making regional identity an ...

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Lola and Leon Houck versus the Southern Pacific Railway Company

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pp. 133-150

... end of the nineteenth century, many of the nearly eight million African Americans then living in the United States bore witness to deteriorating race relations. The situations they faced provided a bitter reminder of their second-class citizenship in a self-proclaimed democratic republic.1 Black people, especially those living in the former Confederate states, encountered ...

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The Colored Trainmen of America

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pp. 151-177

... Texas urbanized late r than many parts of the state due to geographical conditions such as the lack of an available water source and sparse vegetation. Technological advances of the day such as barbed wire and windmills closed the open range and aided the area’s cattle ranches. The availability of water and the flourishing cattle and farming industries attracted settlers to the ...

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Divided We Stand

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pp. 177-205

... Benjamin Roberts, a black resident of Boston, Massachusetts, brought suit against the city’s public school committee on grounds that his daughter, Sarah, had been denied equal access to public schooling because of her race. Sarah Roberts walked past no fewer than five primary schools on her way to the city’s lone black school in 1849, and her father argued that the school ...

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Maury Maverick and Racial Politics in San Antonio, Texas, 1938–1941

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pp. 206-241

... San Antonio mayor Maury Maverick left a sick bed against doctor’s orders and went to a greater San Antonio campaign rally at Hermann Sons Hall. The ailing Maverick was entering the final week in a tense runoff campaign for mayor. He expected few votes from San Antonio’s east side, where most of the city’s blacks lived. Somewhere out there, east of Hermann Sons Hall, a black racketeer was trying to ...

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The Houston Eagles and the End of the Negro Leagues

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pp. 242-256

... American baseball in Texas had a brief but vibrant history. From the unaffiliated semiprofessional teams that existed around the state to the Texas-Oklahoma-Louisiana League, baseball remained a constant aspect of African American life in Texas. In 1949, black professional baseball came to Texas in the form of ...

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Corpus Christi’s Galvan Ballroom

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pp. 257-279

... few of Corpus Christi’s more historically important cultural landmarks remain intact today. North Beach, which once teemed with arcades and pedestrian traffic, the municipal fishing pier, the saltwater swimming pool, and the Ferris wheel are gone or so altered that they no longer hold the same significance. One exception to this dearth of historical sites, however, ...

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Racial Change on the Southern Periphery

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pp. 280-312

... black drive for civil rights has been the most studied and closely observed social movement in American history. Television brought the movement into the American living room and fixed attention on the issues of the conflict. Journalists inundated readers with information about civil rights activists and personalities. Participants in the movement supplemented these sources ...

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“A Pearl of Great Price”

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pp. 313-328

... verse is rarely a sought-after commodity in the literary marketplace; nevertheless, A Time To Be Born, by African American poet, playwright, educator, and social activist Olga Samples Davis, appeared in four editions. Palo Alto Review founding editor Ellen Shull has lauded Davis’s poems as “packaged exuberance,” “black pearls,” finding in the works themselves “joy, ...

Blacks in South Texas

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pp. 329-334


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pp. 335-338


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pp. 339-340


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pp. 341-353

E-ISBN-13: 9781603444880
E-ISBN-10: 1603444882
Print-ISBN-13: 9781603442282
Print-ISBN-10: 1603442286

Page Count: 496
Illustrations: Bib. Index.
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Perspectives on South Texas Series, sponsored by Texas A&M University-Kingsville