History of African Americans in San Antonio

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The African American population in San Antonio, Texas has been a significant part of the city’s community since its founding. African Americans have been a part of the Greater San Antonio’s history since the 1850s.


Many African Americans in Texas remained in slavery until after the U.S. Civil War ended. There was scarce Union Army activity in Texas, preventing them from joining the Northern lines. During the Reconstruction Era, newly emancipated African American slaves began moving from rural areas in Texas to San Antonio, establishing Freedmen’s Towns on the city’s East Side. Ellis Alley was one of the first African-American neighborhoods in San Antonio; the city had a few (168) black slaves among its 3,436 people.[1] Although slavery ended after the U.S. Civil War, by the mid-1870s racial segregation became codified throughout the South, including Texas. African Americans in San Antonio were poorly represented by the predominantly white state legislature and city council, and were politically disenfranchised during the Jim Crow era; whites had used a variety of tactics, including militias and legislation, to re-establish political and social supremacy throughout the South. Racial segregation ended in the mid-1960s. On March 16, 1960, San Antonio became the first southern city to begin integration of its small restaurants. In the 1970s, the African American population in San Antonio was 7.6 percent.[1] In addition to the New Great Migration, many African Americans in the US have now recently moved to San Antonio for lower cost of living and more job opportunities.[2] Ivy Taylor was also the first African American to be elected mayor of San Antonio and only the second woman in the position.[3]


In the 1970s, The African American population in San Antonio was 7.6 percent.[1] The East Side of San Antonio has a large concentration of predominantly African American residents; the African American population is now 6.9 percent. Outside of the East Side, the San Antonio black population of both working and middle class families is located on the diverse Northeast Side in areas like Camelot, Sunrise and Dignowity Hill as their presence has been around since the 1980s and 90s.


Ivy Taylor was also the first African American to be elected mayor of San Antonio and only the second woman in the position..[3] Taylor was elected to San Antonio City Council in 2009 to represent District 2 on the east side of the city, and was re-elected to the body in 2011 and 2013;[4][5] the Alamo City Black Chamber of Commerce in San Antonio was established in April, 1938.


The San Antonio Observer is the only African American Newspaper in San Antonio since 1995 and the largest in all of South Texas.


Colleges and Universities[edit]

St. Philip's College is a public community college located in San Antonio, Texas, United States, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. St. Philip's College, a part of the Alamo Colleges District, currently serves more than 11,000 students in over 70 different academic and technical disciplines, it is the only college to be federally designated as both a historically black college and a Hispanic-serving institution.

Primary and Secondary Schools[edit]

Sam Houston High School, is a historically African American public high school with a Hispanic student body, it is located in eastern San Antonio, Texas (USA) and classified as a 4A school by the UIL. This school is one of twelve schools in the San Antonio Independent School District. In 2015, the school was rated "Met Standard" by the Texas Education Agency.


Notable African-American cultural point of interest includes the San Antonio African American Community Archive & Museum.


Juneteenth is an annual celebration recognizing the emancipation of black slaves in Texas. President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and published it on January 1, 1863, but it did not reach Texas until June 19, 1865. Over the next few years, African-American populations across Texas collected money to buy property dedicated to Juneteenth celebrations.

Notable Residents[edit]

See Also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c African Americans." Handbook of Texas
  2. ^ Sisson, Carmen K. (16 March 2014). "Why African-Americans are moving back to the South". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  3. ^ a b Svitek, Patrick (June 14, 2015). "Taylor's San Antonio Win a Wake-Up Call for Democrats". Texas Tribune. Austin, Texas. Retrieved June 24, 2015.
  4. ^ Baugh, Josh (July 22, 2014). "San Antonio chooses Ivy Taylor as new mayor". San Antonio Express-News. Hearst Corporation. Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  5. ^ "Mayor Ivy R. Taylor". City of San Antonio. Retrieved June 24, 2015.