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Independence Heights in the Handbook of Texas

Through the hard work and dedication of Mrs. Vivian Hubbard Seals, the daughter of the second mayor of Independence Heights, much of the history of this community has been preserved. The following is the entry in the Handbook of Texas researched and written by Mrs. Seals.

INDEPENDENCE HEIGHTS, TEXAS. _____Independence Heights was originally northeast of Houston in an area now within the Houston city limits, bounded on the south by Thirtieth Avenue, on the north by Fortieth Avenue, on the west by Yale Street, and on the east by Airline Drive in Harris County. The Wright Land Company secured the land, incorporated in 1910, and developed a new community for blacks. By doing their own financing they made it possible for people with small incomes to become homeowners. Resident contractors built most of the houses and churches.

_____Independence Heights incorporated on January 25, 1915, when it had a population o
f 600. G.O. Burgess was the first mayor. The Houston Informer was the city newspaper.

_____The Independence Heights School was established in 1911, and O.L. Hubbard was its first teacher. Churches organized while Independence Heights was a separate city were the New Hope Missionary Baptist, the Green Chapel African Methodist Episcopal, the St. Paul Colored Methodist Episcopal, the Ebenezer Methodist Episcopal, the Concord Missionary Baptist, and the North Main Church of God in Christ.

In 1989, the placement of the state historical marker recognized the Independence Heights neighborhood as a Texas Historical Site. In 1997, the National Historical Commission identified a historic residential district and specific historic buildings within Independence Heights.

_____Businesses included a cooperative store, grocery stores, cafes, and contractors. Some residents were employed in Houston, in Houston Heights, and in other areas. In 1920 Independence Heights had a population of 715. According to the Houston Post dated January 17, 1915, it was the first incorporated black city in Texas. In 1989 a Texas Historical Commission marker was placed on the grounds of Greater New Hope Missionary Baptist Church to mark the city site. In November 1928 Independence Heights residents voted to dissolve the city’s incorporation because of their desire to become a part of Houston. The area was annexed to Houston on December 26, 1929.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Houston Forward Times, June 15, 1963. Houston Informer, June 28, 1919. Houston Post, January 17, 1915. The Red Book of Houston (Houston: Sotex, 1915).

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