In observance of Black History Month, the Houston Texans have launched an organization-wide initiative aimed at educating staff about the role of notable Black Houstonians and their impact in history, community, business, education, sports and entertainment.
As the fourth largest city in the United States and one of the country's most culturally diverse, Houston's rich history is filled with important civil rights leaders, events and contributions that have shaped the course of Black History, not only in the city, but across the nation.
The Texans initiative includes a virtual education series where guest speakers, including local historians, community leaders and elected officials, will lead the discussion on a variety of topics related to Black History in Houston.
For the Culture
Houston's Black community has played a major role shaping the arts, music, food and sports across the city's diverse landscape.
Did you know… The Ensemble Theatre, located on 3535 Main Street, is the largest African-American theater company in the United States?
George Hawkins founded the company in 1976 after being frustrated by the lack of roles for African Americans. The Ensemble Theatre, now the oldest African-American theater company in the Southwest, stages a full slate of productions relating to the African-American experience while also running a touring educational and artist residency program. Additionally, the company hires around 200 artists each year.
Did you know…After officially integrating its student body in the summer of 1962, the University of Houston became the first major college in the South to integrate its athletic programs?
Houston Coach Guy Lewis recruited two young Black men from Louisiana in 1964 for his Cougar basketball team: Don Chaney and Elvin Hayes. Despite facing hostility at both home and road games, Chaney and Hayes led the Cougar basketball team to 32 straight victories.
Meanwhile, in the UH football program, Coach Bill Yeoman recruited running back Warren McVea in 1964. By 1967, McVea had paved the way for a Cougars team that led the nation in total offense.
Long before the likes of Beyoncé, Travis Scott or Bun B were even born, Houston's Black music scene was bustling with live venues.
Did you know…The Eldorado Ballroom, located in Houston's Third Ward at 2310 Elgin Street, was the pinnacle of Black culture for live music in the Jim Crow era?
The owners of the Eldorado Building were a remarkably successful African-American couple, Clarence Dupree and his wife Anna Dupree. Mrs. Dupree wanted to establish the Eldorado Ballroom as an upscale venue for Houston Blacks, during an era when segregation severely limited the options for well-to-do African-Americans seeking to enjoy a night out for entertainment purposes.
The nightclub operated there from 1939 till the early 1970s. In its prime, it reigned as one of the finest showcases in the South for performances and dancing to black secular music. Many local musicians like Jewel Brown, Sam "Lightnin'" Hopkins, Joe "Guitar" Hughes and Johnny "Guitar" Watson went on to greater fame after getting their start at the Eldorado. National stars that played there included Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino and Little Richard.
The Eldorado has its own Texas Historical Marker plaque.
As part of the Houston Texans celebration of Black History Month, fans are encouraged to follow along with the official team channels throughout the month and learn more about Black History in Houston here. We will also feature local Black artists' work for weekly Wallpaper Wednesday posts.
Check out photos of Houston's rich history is filled with important civil rights leaders, events and contributions that have shaped the course of Black History, not only in the city, but across the nation.