As a special collections library, a significant part of our mission is the preservation of items related to African American history. We have items available in our facility and online. We constantly collect materials to provide historical information that documents and focuses on the experience of African American residents, businesses, institutions and neighborhoods throughout Houston and the surrounding region.
We serve students and instructors from elementary to the university level as well as a wide range of researchers. Additionally, researchers may also wish to visit our other research collections at the Clayton Library for Genealogical Research and the Houston Metropolitan Research Center. All materials are non-circulating and for library use only.
We collect personal and professional papers of African American Houstonians for researchers to use. These include businesses, social clubs, families, individuals, religious, service and cultural organizations.
Government papers and records
Documents that are important to Houston’s African American history, such as those relating to the establishment of San Felipe Courts (later Allen Parkway Village), the effort to have Freedmen’s Town added to the National Register of Historic Places, or copies of military records relating to the 1917 Camp Logan race riot are within the scope of our collection policies.
Obituaries and funeral programs
These items are unique in African American communities due to their detailed descriptions of life stories and family connections. Funeral programs are not only useful for genealogists, but for cultural anthropologists and researchers interested in compiling data about African Americans in the area.
These items may include personal family archives that traces family history, as well as audiovisual materials on videos, DVD’s, LPs, and other formats that capture the African American cultural, musical, historical, and social experience.
Forthcoming: PDFs of our finding aids will be posted online in the coming months. However, you may access some of our finding aids through the Texas Archival Resources Online.
Oral histories are an important component of the Gregory School’s historic collections. Oral history interviews are conducted with people who have made important contributions to Houston’s African American experience. The videos are transcribed and researchers may have access to both the typed transcripts and the recorded video. Some of the interviews will be posted online in order to broaden their availability to researchers unable to visit the Gregory School in person.
These contain materials that relate to a broad array of topics in African American studies, as they relate to Houston and the state of Texas. The collection provides access to resources in many formats to support the information needs of scholars and the general public.
This collection includes books about the African American experience in Houston and the United States and those that support the library’s archival collections. These items are searchable in our online catalog. Be sure to specify our location (The African American Library at the Gregory School) in your search criteria. All materials are non-circulating and for library use only.
The Gregory School actively maintains Vertical Files of printed resources on an extensive variety of local and regional topics. This ready reference file is a continually growing collection of clippings from newspapers, journals, and magazines relating to the history of African Americans in Houston and Texas. They offer otherwise unavailable ease of access to coverage of local history. The files are divided into four categories: Funeral Programs, Biography, Houston, and Texas. The Texas files include people and events that are native to Texas, but not Houston, such as events taking place in Fort Worth or Dallas.
The majority of our newspapers are on microfilm. These consist of local African American newspapers, such as The Informer and The Forward Times. We also maintain a collection of current newspapers in print form e.g. African-American News & Issues and the Houston Defender.
Our collection of scholarly journals includes primary sources such as The Journal of Negro History from 1916 and The Negro History Bulletin from 1939.