African American Historic Places & Pioneers

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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.

From the Blogs

Black History Alive and Well in Galveston

Published: Thursday, February 23, 2017

On the outside walls of the African American Museum at 3427 Sealy St. are portraits of some prominent black Galvestonians, painted by artist E. Herron. Read more.

Smithsonian Welcomes Moody Mansion Slavery Artifacts

Published: Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Gillins was going through boxes of the Moody Family archives to find a photo of Enoch Withers, W.L. Moody Jr.’s longtime valet and driver for Mary Moody Northen, when she discovered another historical treasure. Read more.

Pardon for Champion Jack Johnson Once Again in the Works

Published: Monday, December 14, 2015

For over a century, Galveston’s own Jack Johnson has remained a guilty man. Read more.

Buffalo Soldiers Bring History to Life for Isle Students

Published: Tuesday, November 17, 2015

good day for Ken Pollard is when he’s in front of kids eager to learn about the history and legacy of the U.S. Army’s Buffalo Soldiers, who proved their fighting prowess on major battlefields in the late 1800s. Read more.

Things I Love About Galveston

Published: Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Galveston is undeniably one of the best cities in the United States. Here are the things that I love about the island. We’d like to hear what floats your boat as well. Read more. Video
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