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Black History Month

February 11, 2013

In honor of Black History Month, we would like to highlight a few of our manuscript collections documenting San Antonio African American history.

Helen Cloud Austin
Helen Cloud Austin earned local and national recognition for her accomplishments and dedication as a social worker at the San Antonio State Hospital, where she was Chief of the Social Services Department. In 1983, Austin was declared San Antonio Social Worker of the Year and Texas’ State Social Worker of the Year. In 1984, she was honored as the nation’s Social Worker of the Year, making her the first Texan to receive all three awards.
Hattie Elam Briscoe
In 1956, Hattie Elam Briscoe became the first Black woman to graduate from St. Mary’s University School of Law, and was the only Black woman attorney in Bexar County for the next 27 years. Attorney Briscoe has received numerous honors, awards and accolades throughout the region including the Who’s Who in Texas Today award.
MS73_1-14_yearbook-TN200Delta Sigma Theta San Antonio Alumnae Chapter
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is a public service organization of predominately African American college educated women. The San Antonio Alumnae Chapter as established on August 16, 1933, under the name of Psi Sigma Chapter. The chapter follows the philosophy upon which the national organization was founded, committed to engaging in public service, concern for social welfare, academic excellence and cultural enrichment.

Sterling Houston
Sterling Houston had a thirty-year career in professional theater as an actor, musician and writer in San Antonio, New York and San Francisco. Houston’s writing frequently dealt with post-slavery black identity and the intersections of race and sexuality. A yearly production of Houston’s Black and Blue: 400 Years of Struggle and Transcendence, repertory piece pairing traditional jazz and blues with documents from the American slavery era, is presented in his memory.

San Antonio Black History Collection
The San Antonio Black History Collection was brought together by Lewis Fisher while conducting research on San Antonio history. The collection is made up of printed materials that reflect African-American life in San Antonio in the 20th century. San Antonio funeral homes, schools, and churches are the major subjects in this material. A large but incomplete run of Snap magazine covers the years 1955-1966.Learn more about SNAP News.

Browse a comprehensive list of Special Collection’s African American collections.

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