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Independence Heights: A Window to the Past

Background | Founders | Annexation

e.___After becoming the first African American incorporated city in Texas in 1915, the residents voted in 1928 to dissolve their city in order to become a part of Houston, They hoped that as Houston citizens, they might receive more services such as paved roads and better plumbing. They did not receive all that they had hoped for. Like most African American neighborhoods, Independence Heights did not receive an equal share of city services. Residents possess vivid recollections of the difficulties, even into the 1950s, of traveling that area’s unpaved streets after one of Houston’s frequent rainstorms. Independence Heights’ residents faced racism and coped with segregation on a daily basis, as reflected in their stories.

Maps of Houston’s Independence Heights Historic Districts

e.___In the last thirty years, the Independence Heights neighborhood has experienced a decline, and the neighborhood’s individual identity and past were being lost. With the arrival of integration, families who had the money and desire to do so have moved into more affluent and racially diverse areas. As a result, this historic black community has lost many influential residents as well as black businesses.

e.___Currently, a welcome move toward revitalization is emerging across Houston. African Americans and others are moving back into historically black neighborhoods such as Independence Heights, restoring older homes, and rediscovering the neighborhood’s rich history, while at the same time, rebuilding for the future.

Background | Founders | Annexation

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