African Americans in Texas
Total population
3,444,712[1] (2020)
Regions with significant populations
Ark-La-Tex, Central Texas, East Texas, Galveston, Greater Austin, Greater Houston, Beaumont–Port Arthur metropolitan area, Dallas–Fort Worth metropolitan area, Greater San Antonio,[2] North Texas, Northeast Texas, Southeast Texas
Texan English, Southern American English, Louisiana Creole, African-American Vernacular English, African languages
Black Protestant, Roman Catholicism, Hoodoo (spirituality), Louisiana Voodoo[3]
Related ethnic groups
Other Black Southerners especially Black Louisianians and Black Oklahomans, Afro-Mexicans, Blaxicans in Texas, White Americans in Texas, Louisiana Creoles in Texas
An African American museum located in Bryan, Texas

African American Texans or Black Texans are residents of the state of Texas who are of African ancestry and people that have origins as African-American slaves. African Americans formed a unique ethnic identity in Texas while facing the problems of societal and institutional discrimination as well as colorism for many years. The first person of African heritage to arrive in Texas was Estevanico, who came to Texas in 1528.[4]

The earliest black residents in Texas were Afro-Mexican slaves brought by the Spanish.[5]

A large majority of Black Texans live in the Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio metropolitan areas.[6]

The 2020 U.S. Census identified the Black population alone, non-Hispanic population at 3,444,712,[1] making Texas' Black population the largest of all states and territories in the United States.[7]


Main articles: History of slavery in Texas and Slavery in colonial Spanish America

See also: History of Texas

The Texas Black Liberation Flag
Slave hunting dogs advertisement in Texas

In 1529, a Moroccan Muslim man named Estevanico became the first African to come to Texas. He was from Morocco, and was sold into slavery to a Spanish explorer. Arriving in the New World, Estevanico and the rest of his party (including Cabeza de Vaca) were shipwrecked near Galveston Island, captured by a group of Coahuiltecan Native Americans, escaped, and trekked across what is now Texas and northern Mexico. He was killed later while traveling to the state of New Mexico.[8]

The first Africans that lived in Texas were Afro-Mexicans when Texas was still a part of Mexico before the Mexican–American War. Enslaved Africans arrived in 1528 in Spanish Texas.[9] In 1792, there were 34 blacks and 414 mulattos in Spanish Texas.[10] Anglo white immigration into Mexican Texas in the 1820s brought an increased numbers of enslaved people.[11]

Most slaves in Texas were brought by white families from the south. Some enslaved blacks came through the domestic slave trade, which was centered in the city of New Orleans. Most enslaved blacks in Texas were forced into unskilled labor as field hands in the production of cotton, corn, and sugar. Some other enslaved blacks lived and worked on large plantations and in urban areas where they engaged in more skilled forms of labor such as cooks, blacksmiths, and carpenters.[12]

Their proportion of the population has declined since the early 20th century after many left the state in the Great Migration. Blacks of both Hispanic and non-Hispanic origin made up 11.5 percent of the population in 2015; blacks of non-Hispanic origin formed 11.3 percent of the populace. African Americans of both Hispanic and non-Hispanic origin numbered roughly 2.7 million individuals, increasing in 2018 to 3,908,287.[13] The majority of the Black and African American population of Texas lives in the Greater Houston, Dallas and San Antonio metropolitan areas.[2]


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 Army. Some escaped over the borders to areas where the Union Army was operating. The announcement of emancipation was delayed until June 19, 1865, when officials announced that slavery had been formally abolished. It was celebrated first in Texas as Juneteenth. Juneteenth was celebrated in many African American Communities throughout the United States, it was not until 156 years later in 2021, it became a Federally Nationally recognized Holiday. African Americans left Texas by the tens of thousands during the Great Migration in the first half of the 20th century, seeking work and political opportunities elsewhere. As of the 2020 U.S. Census, African Americans were 11.8% of the state's population which mirrors the national average of 12.1%. The long-term effects of slavery can be seen to be present in the state's demographics. The eastern quarter of the state, where cotton production depended on thousands of slaves, is the westernmost extension of the Deep South and contains a very significant number of Texas' African-American population.[4]

Texas has the largest African-American population in the country.[14] African Americans are concentrated in eastern, east-central and northern Texas, as well as the Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio metropolitan areas.[15] African Americans form 24 percent of both the cities of Dallas and Houston, 19% of Fort Worth, 8.1 percent of Austin, and 7.5 percent of San Antonio.[2] The African American population in Texas is increasing due to the New Great Migration.[14][15]

A 2014 University of Texas at Austin study observed that the state's capital city of Austin was the only U.S. city with a high growth rate that was nevertheless losing African Americans, due to suburbanization and gentrification.[16]

In 2018, African-Americans had the second highest net growth in population in Texas compared to 2010. Harris County accounted for the largest percentage of that growth.[17] Harris County's largest city Houston is now known as a center of African-American political power, education, economic prosperity, and culture, often called the next black mecca.[18]

There is a black Louisiana Creole community in Texas.[19]

There is also a Black Seminole presence in the state.[20]

Historically black colleges and universities in Texas

There are nine historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in Texas. Texas Southern University (largest) and Prairie View A&M University (second largest) are the two most notable HBCUs in Texas and annually produce a significant portion of college degreed African-American in the state. The schools are also major SWAC sports rivals.[21][22] St. Philip's College is a public community college located in San Antonio, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It is the westernmost HBCU in the United States.

Notable Black Texans


Here are some prominent singers, actresses and other celebrities with separate articles.[23]

See also


  1. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE – 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – United States by State and Territory". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 27 March 2023. Retrieved 20 June 2023.
  2. ^ a b c "How the Eastside Became Home to San Antonio's Black Community". San Antonio Report. 15 January 2018. Archived from the original on 21 January 2021. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  3. ^ "Religious Landscape Study". Archived from the original on 3 June 2022. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  4. ^ a b Dulaney, W. Marvin (25 July 2016) [June 9, 2010]. "African Americans". Handbook of Texas (online ed.). Texas State Historical Association.
  5. ^ "The Emergence of Afro-Tejano Society During the Spanish Colonial Period in Texas, 1528-1700". Archived from the original on 19 July 2022. Retrieved 19 July 2022.
  6. ^ "Texas". Archived from the original on 13 May 2019. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  7. ^ "The Growing Diversity of Black America". 25 March 2021. Archived from the original on 24 July 2022. Retrieved 8 October 2022.
  8. ^ "The Institute Of Texan Cultures. Texans One and All – African-American Texans" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 July 2021.
  9. ^ "The African American Story | Texas State History Museum". Archived from the original on 7 May 2021. Retrieved 30 May 2021.
  10. ^ "TSHA | African Americans". Archived from the original on 13 September 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  11. ^ "A Lasting Legacy - Texas Historical Commission" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 May 2021. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  12. ^ "The African American Story". Archived from the original on 7 May 2021. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  13. ^ "American Community Survey 2018 Demographic and Housing Estimates". Archived from the original on 21 October 2020. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
  14. ^ a b Frey, William H. (May 2004). The New Great Migration: Black Americans' Return to the South, 1965–2000 (Report). The Brookings Institution. p. 1. Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 April 2008.
  15. ^ a b "Texas". Archived from the original on 13 May 2019. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  16. ^ Donahue, Emily and David Brown. "Austin's the Only Fast-Growing City in the Country Losing African-Americans" (Archive). KUT. Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin, Friday May 16, 2014. Retrieved on May 20, 2014.
  17. ^ "Texas' Hispanic population is on pace to surpass white residents | The Texas Tribune". 20 June 2019. Archived from the original on 18 October 2020. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  18. ^ Graves, Earl G. Sr. (8 December 2016). "Join us in Houston, America's Next Great Black Business Mecca". Black Enterprise. Archived from the original on 20 August 2019. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  19. ^ Steptoe, Tyina (15 December 2015). "When Louisiana Creoles Arrived in Texas, Were They Black or White? | Essay". Archived from the original on 15 September 2022. Retrieved 19 July 2022.
  20. ^ Association, Texas State Historical. "Black Seminole Indians". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 10 February 2024.
  21. ^ Dean, Richard (12 January 2020). "Texas Southern fends off Prairie View A&M in rivalry showdown". Chron. Archived from the original on 9 August 2020. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  22. ^ Radow, Alex (26 August 2019). "5 things to know about TSU-Prairie View A&M rivalry in annual Labor Day Classic". KPRC. Archived from the original on 18 January 2020. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  23. ^ "Black Texans Who Shaped Our State and Changed Our Country". 11 February 2020. Archived from the original on 25 July 2022. Retrieved 25 July 2022.

Further reading

Historiograohy and memory