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. 19-25:
Mar. 21st – Actor Al Freeman, Jr. was born on this day in 1934 in San Antonio. Freeman starred on Broadway in the 1960s in productions such as “Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright” and in plays by James Baldwin and LeRoi Jones such as “Blues for Mister Charlie.” In 1979, he became the first African American to receive a Daytime Emmy for a soap opera for his role as a police captain on “One Life to Live.” He also drew critical acclaim for his portrayal of Malcolm X in the mini-series “Roots: The Next Generations,” and in 1991 played Elijah Muhammad in the Spike Lee movie "Malcolm X."
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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