City Stories

Souf Side: The Story of Houston’s South Side

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Souf Side: Houston’s South Side

Houston, Texas is a city that is divided between the North Side and South Side and has for long been influential to ‘hoods, communities and societies across the nation, from the city’s lingo of “Sauce” to the laid-back culture within streets of Houston.

In one of the fast-growing cities in the country, the city of Houston was originally much smaller with a bulk of the population living in the city’s wards and neighboring communities.

A trip to the South Side of Houston will lead one to witness the childhood homes of numerous Houston legends like Z-Ro of Mo City, Lil Keke of South Park and the legendary DJ Screw and the Screwed Up Click.

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South Park

While the city is divided between North and South, the South Side is also divided between the Southeast and the Southwest expanding from Diary Ashford Road of Alief to Marin Luther King Blvd. of South Park and South Acres.

The Southeast is based around the Third Ward which is centered Alabama Street, the Cuney Homes and other blocks within the community, while other Southeast areas are just as reputable like Yellowstone, South Park and Sunnyside.

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The heart of the 3rd ward Houston ghetto

With hundreds of people living in Sunnyside around Scott Street and Cullen Boulevard, the streets of the Check-A-Hoe Texas, the local nickname of the community, can be seen from Bricker Park to Blue Ridge.

East of Jutland Road from Sunnyside is the South Park neighborhood, a large community that is separated by Martin Luther King Boulevard with ‘hoods and blocks around Herschelwood and Southbank.

South of Airport Boulevard is South Acres, a large area that is home to many areas like Hillwood and Kennedy Heights, but none are as infamous and notorious as the Botany Lane and Cloverland area or the apartment complexes of the Dead End.

Dead End of South Acres

Driving pass highway 288 will enter you into the Southwest section of Houston, starting with Hiram Clarke and MO City (Missouri City) and followed by apartment complexes around Fondren and in the SWAT section (SouthWestAliefTexas).

As Houston’s black population grew out of the Southeast communities of Sunnyside and South Acres, the population founded a home in the Hiram Clarke neighborhood.

Hiram Clarke is one of the South Side’s largest neighborhoods with sections like Windsor Village, Briarwick, Brentwood, Glen Iris (G.I.), and Almeda Plaza, making this South Side community seemed as its own separate side of town.

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South of Hiram Clarke is Missouri City, or MO City for short, which is officially in Texas’ Fort Bend County, but the actual ‘hoods of MO City are literally not within the city limits of Missouri City.

Missouri City has always been looked upon as an affluent suburb of Houston, but there is another side of the community that is more urban and always been referred as MO City with areas like Ridgemont, Ridgegate, Briargate, Quail Run, and Hunters Glen.

By the 1990s, the South Side community expanded into the West, South West Houston that is based around the tens of apartment complexes that expand from Fondren Road to Alief, Texas in areas of Spice Lane, 8900 Braeswood, Forum Park, Club Creek or Corporate Drive.

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South West Alief Texas

Southwest Houston has become the city’s most active section as low income apartment complexes have housed thousands of people in a small radius of the city.

Before a large of portion of Houston’s black population could call the numerous of neighborhoods of Houston’s Southwest and Southeast home, laws and rules prohibited the city’s African-American from only living in a couple of sections, 4th Ward and 3rd Ward.

As slavery came to an end, freed men and women of rural communities in East Texas and neighboring states began to relocate into the city of Houston as many occupied the 4th Ward, while a small percentage of others decided to reside in the city’s 3rd and 5th wards.

4th Ward, originally known as Freedmen Town, would eventually be changed by urban renewal with the construction of the San Felipe Courts public housing complex and other construction projects like Interstate 45.

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Cuney Homes of the 3rd ward Houston ghetto

As urban renewal destroyed the majority of the 4th Ward many would relocate into the already existing black communities of either the North Side’s 5th Ward or the South Side’s 3rd Ward.

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, and was famously known for local entertainment and hundreds of black-owned businesses.

After the removal of segregation laws by the 1960s, former all-white communities were now having black families to move into the neighborhoods of Houston’s Southeast Side in areas like South Park and Sunnyside as blacks were beginning to leave the Third Ward.

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Today’s 3rd Ward Houston ghetto

Starting during the 1970s and continuing into the 1990s and 2000s, the population expanded further west into the many neighborhoods of Hiram Clarke, Missouri City, Southwest Houston, and Alief.

Currently, Houston is one of fastest growing cities as the city’s black population is constantly increasing and establishing themselves in communities throughout the city and not just in a specific area like previous generations.

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