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.

New TIPHC Exhibit!

PVHC2K19Down that road…again

For the 2019 PVAMU homecoming events, the TIPHC partnered with the university’s Communications and Marketing Dept. to create an interactive exhibit that celebrates past homecomings and student life at the university. The exhibit opened Saturday (Oct. 19) in the TIPHC Gallery at the School of Architecture and will remain on display until Dec. 14 this year.

The gallery is open from 8-5. For access, contact the TIPHC office, 936-261-9836, or the main office in the School of Architecture, 936-261-9800.

The exhibit displays artifacts and photos from Miss. Prairie View coronations, vintage band uniforms and wall photos, a recreation of the Alumni Hall and fountain student gathering areas, and a fully adorned dorm room. The displays offer ample “selfie” opportunities where visitors can insert themselves into the exhibits, and there is also a wall where visitors can write about their memories of homecoming and their time on “The Hill.” (Click images to enlarge)

Click here for exhibit page.

Exhibit Poster 1948 – 1968

    Audience in the Stands

         Coronation room

               Dorm room

Homecoming 1945

        Homecoming 1945


Vicente GuerreroJimena Duran Castellanos is a native of Hidalgo, Mexico and a junior in the PVAMU School of Architecture. As a project during her 2019 summer internship with the TIPHC, she researched and wrote an essay about Vicente Guerrero, the only African-Mexican president of Mexico and the first black president in the Americas. The essay is also in commemoration of his birthday, August 10.

Guerrero became the country’s second president in 1829 after Mexico won its independence from Spain. As president, he championed the cause not only of the racially oppressed but also of the economically oppressed. His greatest achievement was the abolishment of slavery in Mexico on September 16, 1829. The move would prompt Texans several years later to fight for and gain their independence from Mexico.

Read the essay here.


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.

bass reevesscott joplincamp logannicksolmecsbessie colemanmarcilite harrisbrownsvillenight train laneDoris MillerMary Branchjack yatesestebanbarbara jordan

“We have a wonderful history behind us. … If you are unable to demonstrate to the world that you have this record, the world will say to you, ‘You are not worthy to enjoy the blessings of democracy or anything else’.”  

Carter G. Woodson, historian  — “The Father of Black History Month”

Support TIPHC Programming and Research

Donate Now

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 mdhurd@pvamu.edu.

Texas Black History Calendar
Featured Calendar Post

Nov. 12

Ken Houston

Ken HoustonPro Football Hall of Fame safety, was born on this day in 1944 in Lufkin, Texas. Houston played collegiately at Prairie View A&M, then starred with the Houston Oilers and Washington Redskins. Houston became the National Football League’s premier strong safety of 1970s and was All-Pro or All-AFC/NFC eight of nine years, 1971-1979.



TIPHC Bookshelf

Books of interest focusing on black history in Texas. Each week, we feature a different title but also maintain a list of suggested readings.

Nov. 10-16, 2019

Football at Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Texas

By Rob Fink

“In Texas, football is king,” Rob Fink writes, “so it provides a prominent window on Texas culture.” In Football at Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Texas, Fink opens this window to afford readers an engaging view of not only the sport and its impact on African Americans in Texas, but also a better and more nuanced perception of the African American community, its aspirations, and its self-understandings from Reconstruction to the present. This book focuses on crucial themes of civil rights, personal and group identity, racial pride, and socio-cultural empowerment.

Ron Goodwin Blog

Musings on contemporary black history-related topics from the noted PVAMU history professor.

Football is still football

October 14th, 2019|Comments Off on Football is still football

Since we’re into the football season I thought it was time to interject my two cents. I’ve noticed several teams starting black quarterbacks these days. Some because of injury, but others have been under center since training camp. By my count, the first weekend of the National Football League season in September saw nine African Americans as their respective teams’ starting quarterback. That’s pretty good, I believe, given the (Colin) Kaepernick hub-bub a few years

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