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Texas HBCUs history intertwined with politics and more

Here’s a timeline of significant events involving the long and storied history of Texas HBCUs.


A small group of African Methodist preachers found Paul Quinn College in Austin.


Bishop Issac Wiley, a bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, founds Wiley College in Marshall, Texas.


The Texas legislature charters Alta Vista A&M under a state mandate to provide separate education opportunities for African-Americans. Classes began in 1878 with 300 registered students.


The American Missionary Society of Congregational Churches charters Tillotson Collegiate and Normal Institute. Students began classes in 1881.


Several ministers found Texas College in Tyler, Texas.


James Steptoe Johnson, bishop of the Western Texas Diocese of the Protestant Episcopal Church, found St. Philip’s Normal and Industrial School.


A private educational corporation charters Samuel Huston College.


The Disciples of Christ church helps found Jarvis Christian College near Hawkins, Texas.


Wiley College alumnus James L. Farmer Jr. helps establish the Committee of Racial Equality, which later becomes the Congress of Racial Equality. The organization plays a vital role in the civil rights movement.


Texas College partners with The United Negro College Fund upon the organization’s establishment. They remain an associate of the organization today.


Educator and minister G.P. Bowser founds Southwestern Christian College.


Herman Marion Sweatt, a graduate of Wiley College, files a lawsuit for integration of University of Texas Law School. Instead of allowing him admission into the University of Texas, the state founded Texas Southern University for Negroes and its associated law school. The NAACP legal team, led by Thurgood Marshall, eventually took the case to the United States Supreme Court, but was struck down under “separate but equal” and paved the way for the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case.


The 50th Texas State Legislature authorizes the Texas Southern University for Negroes located in Houston. It is the first time the state allowed the creation of a law school for Black students.


Texas Legislature issues a name change for Texas Southern University for Negroes to Texas Southern University.


Samuel Huston College and Tillotson College formally merge, resulting in Huston-Tillotson College.


Texas Southern University students organize Houston’s first sit-in at Weingarten grocery store lunch counter. That same year, Martin Luther King Jr. speaks at Wiley College about the right to protest and sit-in. Shortly after, nine students and Bishop College professor Doxey Wilkerson initiate a month of sit-ins at Woolworth’s lunch counter.


The Texas Legislature issues a name change to Alta Vista A&M to Prairie View A&M University.


A Waller County grand jury indicts 19 Prairie View A&M students for illegally participating in general elections. According to the indictment, the students voted twice — once in their hometown and then in Waller County. In response, students organized a march to raise awareness of the DA’s attempt at voter intimidation. A judge later dismisses the case, citing a lack of evidence. The case is a pivotal moment in Waller County’s historical attempt to deprive minority students of the right to vote.


Two thousand Prairie View A&M students led by Mayor Jackson and Judge Charleston march alongside Texas Representative Al Edwards and U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson from campus to the courthouse. It was to protest of the district attorney claiming the students did not meet the residency requirements to vote.


Texas Southern University and Dillard University, an HBCU in Louisiana, lead the first annual HBCU Student Climate Change Conference in New Orleans.


34 HBCUs including Huston-Tillotson and Paul Quinn College pen a letter in support of Black Lives Matter.


Five Prairie View A&M students file a lawsuit against Waller County, alleging election officials violated the rights of black students and residents by not providing early voting locations on campus or near the city.

Next: It’s time-consuming to research everyone on your ballot — so we researched the biggest names for you. Here’s what you need to know.