HOUSTON, TX - In the Houston's early days, the southern part of the Third Ward was established as an upscale neighborhood for whites. Elderly church members and books taught the history to Rev. D.Z. Cofield.
Good Hope Baptist church moved from Houston's Fourth Ward in the 60's to settle on Third ward property once known as the Ben Taub Estate. Jim Crow laws kept African-Americans segregated north of Truxillo Street, where shotgun shacks were the norm. But starting in the 1930's, and continuing after WW2, white residents started moving out to newly developed suburbs.
Third Ward had now become predominately African-American. Following the war, large numbers of Black migrants settled here from East Texas, Louisiana, and other areas of the Deep south. Many were non professionals, determined to build new lives and experience their new American Dream.
Black-owned business started opening up in the area--as well as churches. Black life here was thriving, making this the center of African-American life in Houston.
In the era of segregation, Almeda Rd was always a busy commercial corridor that led to Downtown Houston. But construction on I-45 in the fifties separated portions of the Third ward. And State Highway 288 soon offered a quicker alternative into downtown... causing most of Almeda's commercial properties to decline. But Pastor Cofield feels a re-gentrification of the ward is taking place. New businesses are once again thriving on Almeda Rd, and it has nothing to do with the community's racial identity.