Black People : A Brief History of Houston's Freedmen's Town

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by oldsoul, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. OldSoul

    OldSoul Permanent Black Man PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Freedmen's Town is a nationally registered historical site,
    and the largest intact freed slave settlement left in the entire nation

    [​IMG]

    A Brief History of Freedmen's Town

    Immediately west of downtown Houston lies the city's oldest Black community. This community is commonly known as Fourth Ward, but its original name is Freedmen's Town, given by freed slaves who settled it.​
    Initially located where Allen Parkway Village now stands, Freedmen's Town was established immediately after the Civil War when many farmers gave or sold their truck farms and property to freed slaves. Freedmen's Town prospered during the turn of the century. Economic, community, and social development were at a peak until local government became threatened by the Black area's prosperity. Black businesses, homes, and churches soon became displaced in order to make way for "progress." Government buildings, such as City Hall, the Albert Thomas Convention Center, and the Music Hall and Coliseum have replaced that portion of Freedmen's Town whose boundaries extended east to Travis Street; west to Taft Street; north to Allen Parkway, and south to Sutton Street.​
    Wards were established in Houston in 1841. Although the "ward" system was officially discontinued in 1906, Houstonians continued to identify the city's various communities by those political subdivisions. By 1920, Freedmen's Town had grown to represent one-third of Houston's population.​
    In the 1920's , Freedmen's Town was Houston's "Harlem." The area was filled with many restaurants, jazz spots, and night clubs. These establishments were frequently visited by Houston's white citizens as well. West Dallas was the community's main commercial strip.​
    In 1929, a survey conducted by the National Urban League revealed that city services were not being extended to Houston's Black citizens. In addition, a pattern of segregation was preventing Freedmen's Town residents from moving to better jobs. In that same year the official report of the City Planning Commission recommended strict segregational zoning of Blacks into the Second, Fourth, and Fifth Wards. While this proposal was not accepted, it was implemented on a de facto basis through deed and housing restrictions. With the coming of integration, many Freedmen's Town residents began to move toward Texas Southern University, in the Third Ward, and other areas of the city, such as Studewood, South Park, Riverside Terrace, Kashmere Gardens, and Acres Homes.​
    There was much construction in the late 1930's against the wishes of Blacks here, which continued to severe this historical neighborhood, divided nearly at midpoint by the addition of the Gulf Freeway. In the early 1940's, more Black land and business owners were displaced to make way for San Felipe Courts (now APV), the largest public housing project in Houston. To appease possible civil unrest, Blacks were assured by political movers and shakers that they would be allowed to partake in the new housing once construction was complete. However, in order to justify funding during World War II, the project was designated as part of the war effort to serve military families. A brick wall was erected instead to separate the Courts from the remaining Freedmen's Town. Only whites were allowed to be housed in the Courts.​
    It was not until 1968 that the first Blacks were permitted to reside there. Today, the Courts are Allen Parkway Village (APV). The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allotted $10 million to rehabilitate APV in 1979, the local government chose to try to sell the project to private interests, and used $1.5 million of this money elsewhere. A HUD investigation in 1987 disclosed gross mismanagement of the said monies. This history of misspent public funding continued with the expenditure of $451,000 to rehabilitate units at APV that were kept boarded up while the waiting list of homeless families rose from 6,000 to over 8,000; the decision to demolish instead of to restore well-built housing units at an additional cost of at least $50 million to taxpayers; and, even more recently, the decision under former Mayor Bob Lanier's administration to allow approximately $4 million in city funds, originally granted to build 350 units of low-income housing, to be used toward only 150 units and to let private developers keep the rest.​
     
  2. Khasm13

    Khasm13 STAFF STAFF

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    not surprising....the government was on some harlem nights ish back then...
    most wealth is generational wealth...always has been...
    thas why blacks are the poorest right now...we had ish taken from us
    when these greedy mofos were building up their ish....smh

    one love
    khasm
     
  3. Shikamaru

    Shikamaru Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    That generational wealth comes, in part, from support of the little people to their products for example Hilton (hotels), Firestone (tires), and more.
     
  4. Khasm13

    Khasm13 STAFF STAFF

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    exactly...during the segregated times...black businesses had that support moreso than the black businesses today....

    one love
    khasm
     
  5. emanuel goodman

    emanuel goodman Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Yes one of the biggest historical political blunders of our time. It saddens me so to know that our people were programmed to the point that they wanted to eat drink be educated and spend thier dime with them. But fear and oppersion often leads to some sort of an romantic attraction to the abuser. The entire "black" community has become likened to a battered woman. Now all of the mom and POP stores are ran by what we call Arabs.. Hetep
     
  6. chuck

    chuck Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Don't know if today's black businesses are as supportive of blacks as both were towards each other...
     
  7. chuck

    chuck Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Good luck and best wishes to you and yours trying to perserve and protect your folks heritage in texas...FYI...

     
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