The Drag: Huntsville's Black Business District

"The Drag" is a slang term given to Black business district, that existed primarily from the 20th-century Jim Crow Era to the 1980's (the Cox Funeral Home is the only one still standing). Located on Avenue M between 12th and 14th Street, behind the Downtown Square area of Huntsville, this area was the epicenter of the Black financial/economic life in Huntsville. A sort of mini-"Black Wall Street" of the South, Black-owned grocery stores, financial services, beauty shops, along with many other residences and businesses that primarily served the Black community before and after segregation. This tour will highlight just a very few of the most prominent people and businesses who not only served the Black community, but impacted the larger Huntsville, and even East Texas communities, and made their mark in local history.

Joshua Houston

Born in 1822, Joshua Houston was raised as a slave on the Lea plantation near Marion, Alabama. When his master, Temple Lea, died in 1834, ownership of Joshua was transferred to Temple's daughter, Margaret Lea. There seems to have been little…

St. James Methodist Episcopal Church

Following the Civil War, African Americans in Huntsville established their own "Union Church" for worship services and community events. Local black leaders Joshua Houston Sr., William Baines, and Strother Green purchased a desirable…

Felder Jones Sr.

Felder Jones Sr. (1913-1995) was an important local business leader in Huntsville, Texas. After the death of his mother and father, he lived with his aunt, Emily Williams Hill, in the nearby Galilee community. Jones attended and completed his…