Texas Institute for the Preservation of History and Culture
Documenting the complete history of African American Texans
“Know your history, know yourself“
African descendants 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 Institute for the Preservation of History and Culture is charting every aspect of the black experience in Texas as an online encyclopedia.
Did you know…?
Prairie View A&M University was the first historically black college or university to simultaneously host both Army and Navy reserve officer training corps units.
And, this year PVAMU salutes the 100th Anniversary of its Army ROTC program and the 50th year of the university’s Navy ROTC unit. For that, TIPHC student assistant and history major Zachary Lee has researched and provided content for a new page, “Celebrating PVAMU ROTC and NROTC — History, Honor, and Service to Country.”
The page looks at the history of ROTC programs in general, dating to 1891, as well as how both Army and Navy programs came to be here. We also look at the unit commanders and some of the distinguished program graduates and PVAMU alumni, including seven U.S. Army generals and three U.S. Navy admirals.
Click here to view the page.
Essay: “The Day Freedom Came”
Texas slaves were the last in the country to be officially notified of their freedom because of the Emancipation Proclamation. Since, June 19th, “Juneteenth,” has become a sacred day for African-American communities internationally to celebrate community pride and heritage.
But what about that day itself, in 1865, before the traditional parades, picnics and other events? What was the mood in Galveston — in Texas(!) — for the first citizens to hear those glorious, infamous for some, words of freedom? In this well-crafted piece from genealogist and educator Sharon Batiste Gillins, a Galveston native, we get the answers to those questions and more.
“In the days and weeks that led up to the 19th of June, the newspapers were filled with the latest stories, reports and editorials about the end of the War, the beginning of the peace and the imminent freedom of the enslaved Africans. On June 14th. Galveston Daily News reported that Federal troops would soon arrive in Galveston. The announcement quickly spread throughout the white and black community and the city’s residents were overcome with a curious mix of anticipation and anxiety. Uncertainty permeated the air as they contemplated the consequences of the War’s end and the arrival of Federal troops into the city. Each segment of the population experienced a different set of emotions, the unknown and imagined consequences dissected in print from every angle. That is, every angle except that of the enslaved people whose destiny and very lives would be most impacted.”
Read the entire essay here.
DVD: “Juneteenth, A Celebration of Freedom”
On June 19, 1865 at Galveston, Gen. Gordon Granger of the Union Army announced that the Civil War had ended and all slaves in the former Confederate states were now free. This was two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation. However, the enslaved in Texas had never received the news of their freedom.
This DVD, produced by the TIPHC, provides an insightful perspective about this significant day in American history that is often misunderstood and overlooked. This is a compelling program that is popular with school classes and community groups alike.
To order your copy — $15.00 — please contact the TIPHC, 936-261-9836.
For a preview, click here.
Genealogy: Civil Rights history and the family of Judge Willie E.B. Blackmon
The former Houston Municipal Court judge recounts his family’s involvement in two prominent Civil Rights cases, Hall v. DeCuir and Brown v. Board of Education. Read his story here.
Support TIPHC Programming and Research
Your donations support research, exhibits, documentaries, internships, cultural events, lecture series, film screenings, Journal of History and Culture publications, outreach and much more. For more information on how you can donate to TIPHC, please contact Mr. Michael Hurd, Director of TIPHC, at (936) 261-9836 or email@example.com.
On this day in 1943, Major General Marcelite Harris was born in Houston. She became the U. S. Air Force’s first African-American female general on May 1, 1991. Among her many other “firsts,” she was also the first woman aircraft maintenance officer, one of the first two women air officers commanding at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the first woman deputy commander for maintenance. She attained the rank of major general and was the highest ranking woman in the U.S. Air Force and the highest-ranking black woman in the Department of Defense when she retired in 1997. She is the great-granddaughter of I.M. Terrell, founder of the first school for blacks in Fort Worth.
Books of interest focusing on black history in Texas. Each week, we feature a different title but also maintain a list of suggested readings.
By George Dawson
One man’s extraordinary journey through the twentieth century and how he learned to read at age 98
“Things will be all right. People need to hear that. Life is good, just as it is. There isn’t anything I would change about my life.”—George Dawson
In this remarkable book, George Dawson, a slave’s grandson who learned to read at age 98 and lived to the age of 103, reflects on his life and shares valuable lessons in living, as well as a fresh, firsthand view of America during the entire sweep of the twentieth century. Richard Glaubman captures Dawson’s irresistible voice and view of the world, offering insights into humanity, history, hardships, and happiness. From segregation and civil rights, to the wars and the presidents, to defining moments in history, George Dawson’s description and assessment of the last century inspires readers with the message that has sustained him through it all: “Life is so good. I do believe it’s getting better.”
Ron Goodwin Blog
Musings on contemporary black history-related topics from the noted PVAMU history professor.
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