The Fourth Ward-Houston's most prominent African American neighborhood
The Fourth Ward emerged as Houston's most prominent African American neighborhood when thousands of freed slaves flooded into the city after emancipation in 1865. These newcomers settled on the fringes of the third, fifth, and fourth wards. The Fourth Ward, also known as Freedman's Town, established in 1893 is now considered to be prime real estate, however, after the Civil War, Blacks settled there because Whites didn't want the swampy, flood-prone land that lies so close to Buffalo Bayou. Sometimes called the "Mother ward.” the Fourth Ward was known for its vibrant culture and the establishment of numerous businesses, schools, and churches.
The Gregory Institute, a private school, was established in 1870 in a two-story frame building on Jefferson Avenue at Louisiana Street. The Gregory Institute became a part of the Houston public school system in 1876.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.