Today in Texas History – March 22

From the Annals of Reconstruction – In 1866, the Texas State Central Committee of Colored Men met for the first time in Austin.  The group was founded to address the concerns  of African Americans arising after the conclusion of the Civil War.  The group was one of the first to focus on the social, economic and political problems facing freed former slaves and free blacks.  Jacob Fontaine, a Baptist minister, presided over the convention. Fontaine was also the publisher of The Gold Dollar, said to be the first black newspaper published in Austin and the greater Travis County area. The promise of real freedom was short-lived in Texas as successive Republican administrations abandoned efforts to fully integrate African Americans into American social and political institutions.  It would be another hundred years before minorities in Texas would obtain full federal protection for their rights.  Ironically, it would be a president from Texas who shepherd through the required legislation.

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