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Heightened community interest and support in what will become the next History Research Center is the subject of a Houston Landing story. Read more to understand the investment and development of what is slated to be "the first of its kind for a city that's home to more than 2.3 million Latino or Hispanic residents..." in 2026, according to Assistant Director of Spaces John Middleton.


African American History Research Center (AAHRC) staff talked to American Libraries Magazine for a feature story on oral history projects, and they had the opportunity to highlight interviews included in the HPL Digital Archives. 


From the article:

Collection highlights include stories about a 1963 visit that President John F. Kennedy made to the city, Latino and Latina veterans of World War II, and alumni of the Gregory School, the city’s first public school for Black children, which opened in 1872. The Gregory School interviews, which feature students who graduated from the school between the 1920s and 1960s, are among AAHRC Manager Miguell Ceasar’s favorite, because the former school has become home to the center.


“They were thriving, and they were learning, and they were proud people,” says Ceasar. “It’s a great oral history to listen to, especially for our site.”

Logo of Houston Endowment

HOUSTON – Houston Endowment awarded $500,000 to the Houston Public Library (HPL) in support of a series of archival preservation projects.  

“We greatly appreciate the generous award from Houston Endowment. These funds advance our efforts to honor Houston’s rich diversity through the preservation, accessibility, promotion, and further development of HPL’s African American and Hispanic research collections,” said Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson, Director of the Library. Ann Stern, president and CEO of Houston Endowment, lauds the efforts, “We are proud to recognize organizations driving social justice and racial equity across arts, culture, history, civic engagement and education.”

HPL's goal to expand online access to materials can be achieved with significant funding for ongoing archival digitization work. Funding also provides much-needed support for the preservation and storage of physical materials. Angela Kent, Head of History Research Centers, explains, “By having funds dedicated to the collection and preservation of African American and Hispanic experiences, HPL is able to stay the course in documenting and unlocking access to our city's diverse history."


The African American History Research Center at the Gregory School (AAHRC) opened its doors in 2009 and is one of the few African American institutions in the U.S. actively collecting archival materials. Its mission to preserve and celebrate African American history is supported with a staff of professional archivists who maintain and build the collections. This highly trained staff also provides specialized skills in community archiving and knowledge of Black history for researchers. The AAHRC is still building its collections and relies on community contributions to help document and tell stories of African Americans in Houston and surrounding areas. 

HPL’s Hispanic Collections benefit from the continuous care and custody of archivists through the Houston History Research Center (HHRC), which was established in 1970. The contributions of Hispanics in every industry in the Bayou City are accounted for in over 100 collections of papers and photographs. These records, coupled with oral histories, reflect a rich tapestry of the Hispanic experience and include a significant number of materials about early Houston mutualistas (mutual aid societies), big band, Tejano, and Chicano music, the lives of Mexican Americans during World War II, and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).


Houston Endowment is a private foundation that partners with others to achieve a vibrant and inclusive region where all residents can thrive. It advances equity of opportunity through deep commitments to PreK-12 public education and civic engagement; supports cultural assets that engage and connect us; and drives sustainable change across the region.  

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