Civil Rights in Texas

A guide to primary and secondary sources for the study of the history of civil rights in Texas, arranged thematically and regionally.

Archival Collections



Oral History Interviews

Rev. Claude W. Black:

Black was born in San Antonio on Nov. 28, 1916, the son of a Pullman porter and a housewife. After graduating from then-Douglass High School in 1933, he enrolled at St. Philip’s College. Black earned a bachelor’s degree in 1937 from Morehouse College. He served as pastor of Mount Zion First Baptist Church from 1949 until he retired in 1998 where he was a major force in ending segregation at lunch counters, theaters and other public accommodations in San Antonio. Further, as a civic leader, he helped lead the struggle to maintain a viable East Side community amid competition from poverty, gangs and family and social disintegration. Black served on the San Antonio City Council from 1973 to 1977 and was its first black mayor pro-temp.  As a City Councilman, Black was credited with killing the Good Government League which controlled City Hall for 50 years. Topics: childhood, segregation, racism, unions, career, Mt. Zion Baptist Church (San Antonio, Tex.) The interview below are heavily spiced with cogent philosophical observations where Black emphasizes his own efforts to judge people based on their character rather than their skin color, and his work to build a support system that stresses humanness while disregarding culture, economics and race.

Harry W. Burns:

From a pre-teen in the NAACP Youth Group in Seguin in the 1930s, to a San Antonio community leader in the 1990s, Harry V. Burns marched in and molded South Texas’ Civil Rights era. Burns identifies the individuals and strategies that helped and hampered integration in San Antonio and explains why the city’s experiences were non-violent and, arguably, more successful than those in many other cities.

Rev. Marvin Griffin

Griffin served on the Austin school board in the 1970s as it worked to integrate Austin schools. Under his leadership, the Ebenezer Baptist Church founded the East Austin Economic Development Corp., which has helped East Austin residents with a variety of needs, from affordable housing to care for the elderly.

A. Maceo Smith

Dallas Public Radio's Black History Show on the life and legacy of A. Maceo Smith who was active in the civil rights movement in Dallas during the 1930s, including participation of the black community in the 1936 Texas Centennial and the formation of the "Negro Chamber of Commerce and other leagues to champion black rights.

Tejano Voices:

Maintained by UT Arlington, The Tejano Voices Project focuses on one hundred seventy-six oral history interviews with Tejano and Tejana leaders from across the state conducted by Dr. José Angel Gutiérrez.

Includes interviews with a number individuals involved in civil rights in San Antonio:

Joe Bernal
María Berriozábal
Rosie Castro
Charles Cotrell
Albert Kauffman
Jaime Martínez
Irma Mireles
Albert Peña, Jr.
Rosa Rosales
and many more

Important Papers

Selected Books

Click a title to check its availability.

La Raza Unida Party & Crystal City, TX