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Handbook of African American Texas

Emancipation Proclamation Newspaper Image
54th anniversary Emancipation Proclamation, 1865-1919, Texas: Photographs, Manuscripts, and Imprints, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University

African Americans have been part of the landscape of Texas for as long as Europeans and their descendants. Spanning a period of more than five centuries, African-American presence began in 1528 with the arrival of Estevanico, an African slave who accompanied the first Spanish exploration of the land in the southwestern part of the United States that eventually became Texas. While African Americans have been subjected to slavery, segregation, and discrimination during this long history, they have made significant contributions to the growth and development of Texas. They have influenced Texas policies and social standards. Living and working with other ethnic groups, they have helped create a unique Texas culture. Historians have not always acknowledged the role that African Americans have played in the Lone Star State. Although numerous studies of Texas’s past appeared in the twentieth century, until 1970 there remained too many empty pages in the history of the state concerning the black population. This situation has changed since the 1970s, but the need to capture more of the African-American experience still exists. For this reason, we are happy to launch the Handbook of African-American Texas.

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