The African American population in Houston, Texas has been a significant part of the cities community since its founding. As of 2010, John B. Strait and Gang Gong, authors of Ethnic Diversity in Houston, Texas: The Evolution of Residential Segregation in the Bayou City, 1990–2000, stated that of all of the minority groups in Houston, African-Americans are the most segregated from non-Hispanic whites.
When Houston was founded in 1836, an African-American community had already begun to be established. In 1860, 49% of the citys African American population was enslaved; there were eight free blacks and 1,060 slaves. Before the American Civil War, enslaved African-Americans living near Houston worked on sugar and cotton plantations, while most of those living within the city limits held domestic and artisan jobs.
Although slavery ended after the U.S. Civil War, by the mid-1870s racial segregation became codified throughout the South, including Texas. African Americans in Houston were poorly represented by the predominantly white state legislature and city council, and were politically disenfranchised during the Jim Crow era; whites had used a variety of tactics, including militias and legislation, to re-establish political and social supremacy throughout the South. Texas Southern University students led the integration of Houston in the 1960s. Six months after their first sit-in, 70 Houston lunch counters were desegregated. The success of their continued efforts eventually led to the full integration of businesses within the city.
The Houston Riot of 1917 was a riot of black U.S. soldiers stationed in Houston.
In 1970, 90% of the black people in Houston lived in mostly African-American neighborhoods. By 1980 this decreased to 82%.
Historically, the City of Houston placed established landfill facilities in established African American neighborhoods. Private companies also located landfills in black neighborhoods. Between the early 1920s and the late 1970s the five municipal sanitary