You're invited to explore Galveston's rich African American Heritage. The sites, events, and people listed will help those interested in learning and sharing with family members the many ways African Americans in Galveston aided in the development of the city, state and nation.
African Americans have played a major role in the growth of Texas for hundreds of years under different flags. Ships from around the world came to Galveston, a major seaport town, to trade goods and auction slaves. According to a census taken in 1848, several hundred slaves resided in Galveston; many worked on the waterfront in the cotton industry. Galveston was an important city for trading goods and relaying information. It was here the slaves of Texas learned of their freedom on June 19, 1865.
A constant source of stability for the African American community has been its churches. Fourteen churches that were organized more than 100 years ago are still in existence and serving the community today. Four of the churches are the first in Texas to be organized for African Americans in their denomination.
Galveston was also the first city in Texas to provide a secondary school and public library for African Americans. Events such as Juneteenth and pioneers such as politician Norris Wright Cuney, world heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, and entertainer Barry White all had ties to the Galveston community and are highlighted in this section.
This also includes brief histories of the Greek-Letter Societies which have for a century been central to Galveston's African American Community. To schedule a tour, call (409) 392-0317. To download the official guidebook, Galveston's African American Historic Places and Pioneers, click here.
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