Independent Historian

Cecilia Gutierrez Venable received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at El Paso and her M.A. and B. A. in history from Texas A & M University Corpus Christi. Gutierrez Venable has worked in university, city, county and private archives and has taught history classes. She is currently working with the Sisters of the Holy Spirit as their historian and archivist. Gutierrez Venable has published several articles and books and is co-editing an anthology, Centuries of Voices on Black women in Texas. She is also working on a book about the foundress of the Sisters who built the first Black Catholic Church and School in San Antonio.

The Texas Western Miners (1966)

The 1966 championship game for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament came down to a test between a small southwestern institution, El Paso’s Texas Western College Miners, and an accomplished four-time NCAA tournament winner, the University of Kentucky Wildcats. This game, however, proved … Read MoreThe Texas Western Miners (1966)

St. Benedict the Moor (1526-1589)

Benedetto Manasseri, an Italian of African descent, was born near Messina, Italy to Cristoforo and Diana Manasseri in 1526. His parents, captured as slaves from Africa in the early 16th century, were brought to San Fratello, near Messina.  They converted to Catholicism and, due to … Read MoreSt. Benedict the Moor (1526-1589)

The Oblate Sisters of Providence (1829- )

The Oblate Sisters of Providence was the first successful order of Roman Catholic nuns of African descent. Establishing an order of black sisters first started in Kentucky in 1812 under the encouragement of a Belgian priest, Father Charles Nerinckx. Nerinckx helped found the Friends of … Read MoreThe Oblate Sisters of Providence (1829- )

Herbert “Herb” Jeffries (1913-2014)

Herb Jeffries, baritone jazz balladeer and first black singing cowboy in the movies, was born Umberto Alexander Valentino on September 24, 1913 in Detroit, Michigan, to a mixed-race father and an Irish-born mother.  His mother operated a boarding house and raised her son alone.  His … Read MoreHerbert “Herb” Jeffries (1913-2014)

José María Morelos y Pavón (1765-1815)

José María Morelos y Pavón, statesman and Roman Catholic priest, was one of the greatest insurgent military commanders during the Mexican War of Independence.  Morelos was born into a poor “pardo” (Afro-Mexican) family in Valladolid, Mexico on September 30, 1765 to José Manuel Morelos y … Read MoreJosé María Morelos y Pavón (1765-1815)

Ulysses Simpson Tate (1900-1968)

Ulysses Simpson Tate, attorney and civil rights leader, was born on January 26, 1900 in Good Springs, Alabama to James Washington and Mary B. Tate.  The youngest of five children, he received his bachelor’s and master’s degree from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. He then attended … Read MoreUlysses Simpson Tate (1900-1968)

Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Baltimore, Maryland (1863- )

Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church was the first African American Catholic Church in the United States.  The building, located on the corner of Calvert and Pleasant Street in Baltimore, Maryland, was originally constructed in 1836 for the congregation of the First Universalist Church.  By 1837, … Read MoreSaint Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Baltimore, Maryland (1863- )

Saint Peter Claver Church, San Antonio, Texas (1888- )

Saint Peter Claver (Mission) Church was the first African American Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas. The church was built by Irish-born Margaret Mary Healy Murphy, the widow of John Bernard Murphy, who was the mayor of Corpus Christi from 1889 to 1884.  Margaret Mary … Read MoreSaint Peter Claver Church, San Antonio, Texas (1888- )