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Freedmen's Town Association Collection

Identifier: RG 0052

Scope and Contents

The Freedmen’s Town Association Collection contains documents and published materials pertaining to the efforts of the Freedmen’s Town Association in preserving the Fourth Ward from 1983 to 1986.


  • 1983-1986
  • Majority of material found in 1984 - 1984

Access Restrictions


Use Restrictions

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the Freedmen's Town Association Collection must be obtained from the African American Library at the Gregory School or the appropriate copyright holder.

Historical Note

Houston’s Fourth Ward has been known as Freedmen’s Town, because it was the first Black settlement in Houston following the Civil War. Its origin began when emancipated slaves began to buy land along the Buffalo Bayou to build their homes. Their resourcefulness lead to a thriving community by 1870, beginning with Houston’s first African-American churches and schools. Freedmen’s Town in the early half of the 20th century is recognized as being a cultural center of creativity and talent.

The Freedmen's Town Association is a community-based non-profit corporation. The Association was formed in 1981 to design, implement, coordinate, and direct programs intended to ensure the effective participation of Fourth Ward residents in the redevelopment and revitalization of their community.

In January 1984, the members of the Freedean’s Town Association assembled to discuss the irresponsible gentrification of the area that was destroying its cultural and historical ties. The Freedmen's Town Association applied for and received a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to conduct a historic site survey of the community. The Association also submitted a nomination for designation of the area as a National Historic Site which was granted; however, only 40 of the original 80 blocks of Freedmen’s Town are protected.


3 Linear Feet (1 flat box)

Language of Materials



The Freedmen’s Town Association Collection is arranged in two series by format and then chronologically.

Missing Title

  1. Series I: Documentation Regarding the Historic Preservation of Houston’s Fourth Ward
  2. Series II: Published Materials

Custodial History

These records were formerly housed at the African American Library at the Gregory School, Houston Public Library as RG F 023 Freedmen's Town Association Collection and were transferred to the African American Library at the Gregory School, Houston Public Library in March 2019.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Gladys House representing the Freedmen's Town Association, Inc., June 21, 1985.

Processing Information

Processed by Tamara Jordan, July 11, 2007.
RG 0052 Freedmen's Town Association Collection
An Inventory of Records at the African American Library at the Gregory School, Houston Public Library
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Revision Statements

  • March 2020: Custodial history and notes updated

Repository Details

Part of the Gregory School Repository


The African American Library at the Gregory School
1300 Victor Street
Houston, Texas 77019
Houston Metropolitan Research Center
Houston Public Library
550 McKinney St.
Houston, Texas 77002