HOUSTON – The African American Library at the Gregory School is a branch of the Houston Public Library in the Fourth Ward, Houston. The library preserves historical information about the African-American community in Houston. It is the city’s first library to focus on African-American history and culture.
The Gregory Institute became a part of the Houston public school system in 1876, with Henry C. Hardy becoming the first Black principal the following year. The building was damaged by a storm in 1893, and the students of Gregory were relocated to Colored High School. The original building was beyond repair, so a new wooden building was constructed at the current site at Wilson and Cleveland in 1903 at the cost of $9690. Since then, neglect, overcrowding, and damage from a fire have required the construction of yet another facility.
Over the next 20 years, the building sat unoccupied and vacant falling into further disrepair. The City of Houston acquired the property from the Houston Independent School District during the spring of the new millennium. And within two years, plans were in progress by then Mayor Lee P. Brown and other city officials to turn the building into a culture and research center.
Today, the African American Library at the Gregory School serves as a research center to promote and preserve African American History and culture in the Houston Area. One of the first libraries of its kind in Houston and one of the few African American libraries in the country, the archive supports the collection, preservation, and dissemination of historical papers and cultural information about the Black experience in Freedmen’s Town, the Houston area and Texas. Click here to learn more about the library.