City StoriesTexas

Houston, TX

The Houston Ghetto:

Inside Look into NorthSide and SouthSide Houston Neighborhoods

Texas’ largest city, the Houston ghetto and urban community has a culture that has become a pioneer for not only Texas and the south, but for around the country.

In the city, many of Houston neighborhoods, especially outside of the older wards, were mainly built during the era of the mid-1900s.

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The Kennedy Heights section of the South Acres in Southside Houston

During the start of the 1900s, African-Americans slowly started to move into the city of Houston from other small towns and rural communities in the state of Texas.

Most of the city’s African-American population originally lived in East Texas, as well as other small communities in nearby states like Louisiana.

Around the 1950s, the majority of African-Americans in Texas lived in the major cities, like Houston or Dallas.

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Today’s Fifth Ward of Northside Houston neighborhoods

The true beginning of the Houston black population was in the city’s wards. The original and main community was the Freedmen Town neighborhood of the Fourth Ward, with other African-Americans of the city staying in the Third and Fifth Wards.

Important fact of Houston black history is that outside of the wards African-Americans also lived in communities like Studewood, Pleasantville and Clinton Park on the East Side, and Acres Homes as these Houston neighborhoods have been around for generations.

Today’s Northside Houston neighborhoods of Acres Homes

With overcrowding and not the best living conditions in the city’s wards, Houston decided to build the majority of its housing projects in the Houston wards.

The Cuney Homes and Kelly Courts were in the Third and Fifth wards, while the Fourth Ward and most of the Freedmen Town community was mostly destroyed by the San Felipe Courts, which were originally for white families, and other urban renewal construction.

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SouthSide Houston neighborhoods of the Cuney Homes in the 3rd Ward

With destroying most of the Houston ghetto in the Fourth Ward, many moved into the Fifth and Third Wards to add to the already black population that already existed.

The Third Ward, which is near the legendary MacGregor Park and Texas Southern University, was one of the biggest black communities in the country, since the beginning of the 1900s, especially for entertainment and black-owned businesses.

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3rd Ward of SouthSide Houston

The North Side’s Fifth Ward was a thriving area until around the 1960s with Lyons Avenue being the heart of the community, filled with a number of businesses.

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Following the Wards

After the removal of segregation laws, former all-white communities were now having black families move into their Houston neighborhoods.

From Northside Houston to Southside Houston African-Americans began to reside in communities like Trinity Gardens, South Park, Kashmere Gardens or Sunnyside, as blacks were beginning to leave the Third, Fourth and Fifth Wards.

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Northside Houston neighborhoods of Kashmere Gardens

While this was occurring, most white families were moving into newer built neighborhoods and subdivisions outside of the older areas of Houston, mostly in the areas like the Southwest or West Houston.

Starting around the 1970s, African-American families began to move into a number of communities in Houston’s North Side and Southwest Side.

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Northside Houston neighborhoods of Inwood

In NorthSide Houston, many move into the surrounding areas of Acres Homes like Inwood or apartment complexes of Greenspoint and Cranbrook areas, while the Houston ghetto of the Northeast section went from Lyons Avenue to Winfield Road.

The Houston ghetto in Southside Houston was expanding into places of the Southwest like Hiram Clarke, followed by Missouri City, Alief and Houston neighborhoods of apartment complexes in the areas around Fondren or Braeswood.

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Southside Houston neighborhoods of Hiram Clarke

Into the 2010s, Houston has become one of the largest and fastest growing cities in the country as the city itself is still expanding with constant construction going on around the city.

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*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.