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

Mar 23, 2018

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.


Everett Fly
Credit Norma Martinez / Texas Public Radio

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.

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

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).

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

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