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Fronteras: How African-Americans Shaped Bexar County's Landscape

Grave site of Samuel McCulloch, an African-American landowner in Bexar County, and the first person injured in the battle for Texas Independence

The story of San Antonio is entwined with that of the Spaniards, Mexicans, Native Americans, and Anglo settlers. But the African-American story of the Alamo City is not one that’s widely known.

Credit Norma Martinez / Texas Public Radio
Everett Fly

Everett Fly, an award-winning San Antonio architect and landscape architect, joins us on Fronteras to peel back the veil on the hidden history of San Antonio (0:55).

The east side of San Antonio is predominantly African-American, but Fly says it wasn’t always (2:48).

MOREBexar County's Earliest Black Landowners

Fly says the accuracy of the Spanish archives helped verify African-American land ownership before the Texas Revolution and after the Civil War (4:22). One of those black landowners was the first man to shed blood in the Texas Revolution.

Many black owners had their own cattle brands (8:18), which Fly and his organization, the San Antonio African-American Community Archive and Museum, have re-registered to preserve for history.

Credit Bexar County Spanish Archives
“Negro settlement” c.1890

Fly helped discover one of the oldest black settlements in North America. The community’s African-American and Native American past also has literary ties to famed novelist Zora Neale Hurston (11:37).

SAAACAMis gathering resources, records, and stories about San Antonio’s African-American history (16:01). If you have a story you’d like to share, emailSAAACAM.

Everett Fly is a 2014 National Humanities Medalist, honored by the White House for preserving the integrity of African-American places and landmarks.  

Norma Martinez can be reached by email at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter @NormDog1

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1