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African American History Research Center: HPL


The African American History Research Center is located at the Gregory School in Houston, Texas. The center is dedicated to preserving and promoting the history and culture of African Americans in the Houston area and beyond. In addition to its extensive collections of books, manuscripts, and photographs the research center hosts events, exhibits, and programs that explore the lives and achievements of African Americans. Services and events are open to the public and are designed to educate and engage visitors of all ages.



History of the Gregory School

Built in 1926, the two-story, former elementary school named after Edgar M. Gregory, a Union officer and Assistant Commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau for the Texas area, is in historic Freedmen’s Town, in Houston’s Fourth Ward. This area is the city’s oldest established African American community. By 1876, the former Gregory Institute became a part of Houston’s public school system, and the Gregory School became the first public education institution for African American children.

The State Historical Commission designated the Gregory School building as a State Archaeological Landmark in 1995; the highest historical landmark classification that can be placed on a building. In 2008, ground-breaking work began to restore and transform the former school into The African American Library at the Gregory School. The renovated library opened on November 14, 2009. The library’s name was changed to the African American History Research Center in 2022.



For Researchers



Browse Digital Archives

Find select digital holdings of curated and highly requested photographs, papers, and oral histories representing the Black experience in Houston and Texas. Download collections and save image files for your personal or research use.

Get Started: Research Guide

Find available items and curated materials by our staff at the African American History Research Center. Access finding aids, guides, print collections, databases, recommended resources, and more!

Dr. Woodson



Be Involved: Preserve Black History



Tour our Galleries


Our permanent and rotating exhibits shine a light on the social, cultural, economic, and political contributions that the African American community has made in Houston, Texas and the United States.



Restored Classroom

A classroom has been restored to its original 1926 appearance so that visitors can experience what the Gregory School was like at its inception.

Freedmen's Town Gallery

This exhibit chronicles a crucial period in Houston’s history when an African American community, later known as Freedmen’s Town, Fourth Ward, was established following emancipation.


African Americans in Houston Gallery 1

This exhibit centers on the themes of Faith, Cooperative Economics, Collective Work and Responsibility, and Unity accenting how each played a significant role in the development of the city.

African Americans in Houston Gallery 2

African Americans in Houston Gallery 2

This exhibit highlights how Black Houstonians used Purpose, Self-Determination, and Creativity asserted themselves through artistic and social outlets.



Archival Services

Our archivists help preserve your personal materials and capture your oral history to make your records accessible in the Houston Public Library’s Digital Archive.
Help build Houston’s historical record by donating keepsakes such as:

   Letters, postcards, wills, deeds
   Photos (families, events, architecture, neighborhoods)
   Family histories (family trees, personal documents)
   Audiovisual (VHS, cassette tapes, reels)
   Funeral programs & obituaries
   Research notes & memoirs
   Business & organization records
   Yearbooks & scrapbooks 
Get started by submitting the form!



Beyond Research

Plan Your Special Event

Celebrate at one of our three historic buildings and research centers. Artfully located in the heart of the city, historic Freedman’s Town, or Museum District.

Peek Inside Gregory

Take a self-guided, room-by-room tour of the leading cultural institutions in Texas devoted to black history and experiences.


Contact Us
1300 Victor St. Houston, TX 77019 | 832-393-1440 | Email Us | FAQs

Other History Research Centers
Family History Research Center

Houston History Research Center