Twentieth Century Development of Freedman's Town

Twentieth Century Development of Freedman's Town (HM16QY)

Location: Houston, TX 77019 Harris County
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Country: United States of America
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N 29° 45.203', W 95° 23.127'

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Founded on the south banks of Buffalo Bayou soon after the June 19, 1865 emancipation of enslaved blacks, Freedman's Town became the center of Houston's African American community. It originally stretched from Buffalo Bayou south to Sutton Street, and west from Milam and Travis streets to Taft Street.

During its heyday in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Freedman's Town featured hundreds of houses, many of which were small "shotgun" frame dwellings, a common folk building type found along the Gulf Coast in Louisiana and Texas. Most often associated with African American neighborhoods, the shotgun form has been traced to black residents of Haiti, and through them to original homelands in Africa. The neighborhood also featured a number of larger homes built by community leaders, including the Rev. Jack Yates, his son Rutherford B. Yates, Alfred Smith, the Rev. Jeremiah Smith and the Rev. Ned P. Pullam. Churches and schools in Freedman's Town largely formed the basis for a strong and proud community identity. In addition, the neighborhood featured many businesses and institutions, including a high school, library, hospital and newspapers.

By the 1930s, Freedman's Town was the economic center for black Houston, the location of a high percentage of the city's black-owned businesses. From 1940 to the present, though, increased area development, including urban renewal programs and highway construction, has adversely affected Freedman's Town. Due to the perseverance of community residents, a large portion of the neighborhood was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.
HM NumberHM16QY
Marker Number13318
Year Placed2004
Placed ByTexas Historical Commission
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, September 8th, 2014 at 7:24am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15R E 269328 N 3293842
Decimal Degrees29.75338333, -95.38545000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 29° 45.203', W 95° 23.127'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds29° 45' 12.18" N, 95° 23' 7.62" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)713, 281, 832
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 289-299 W Gray St, Houston TX 77019, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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