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.
Featured Calendar Post for Mar. 26-Apr. 1:
31 – On this date in 1878, boxer John Arthur “Jack” Johnson was born in Galveston. Johnson would become the first African American to win the world heavyweight title in 1908 when he defeated Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia via decision in a 14-round bout. In 113 fights, Johnson lost only eight and is considered one of boxing’s all-time greats. Former champion Jim Jeffries came out of retirement to challenge the black champion and was billed as "The Great White Hope" when they met on July 4, 1910, in Reno, Nevada. In what was called, "The Fight of the Century,” Johnson soundly beat Jeffries. In 1990, Johnson was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Special Report: Afro-Mexicans -- The History, The Culture, The Presence
In this three-part special report, the TIPHC recognizes Cinco de Mayo by looking at the history and range of issues for Mexico's "hidden" population, Afro-Mexicans -- Afro-Mestizos -- now numbering almost 1.5 million. The stories examine the overlapping cultures (food, music, religion, art, etc.) that evolved from the centuries-old presence of Africans in Mexico, beginning in the 16th century (maybe earlier), including their pursuit of official recognition by the Mexican government in the country's census, which finally came in 2015.
Click here for the entries.
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