Third Ward is conveniently located southeast of Downtown, and is bounded by I-45 on the east, State Highway 288 on the west, Wentworth and Blodgett to the South and then along Spur 5 up to I-45.
Cultural identity and general community characteristics
Greater Third Ward is the home of some of the most important institutions in Houston’s African American community, including Texas Southern University, Riverside Hospital, and dozens of prominent churches.
Brief History of Greater Third Ward
In the 1950s and 1960s, many folks remember the mighty Yates High School Lions whipping their rival Wheatley High School Wildcats from the Fifth Ward area at Jeppensen Stadium (now Robertson) during many Thanksgiving weekends.
Dr. Benjamin Covington’s home which was located at 2219 Dowling boarded such notables as Marian Anderson and Booker T. Washington when they were unable to find rooms at the city’s downtown hotels.
Emancipation Park, located at 3018 Dowling, was purchased in 1872 by freed slaves in an effort led by Rev. Jack Yates, for the celebration of Juneteenth, which is a celebration to mark the anniversary of June 19, 1865 when all slaves in Texas were emancipated from slavery. The park was donated to the City of Houston in 1916, and for more than twenty years, the park was the only public park in Houston open to African-Americans. As the site of one of the original Juneteenth celebrations, Emancipation Park remains an important symbol of a turning point in state and national history.
Third Ward is also home to the old Eldorado Ballroom, 2310 Elgin at Dowling, which was one of the country’s musical epicenters hosting the likes of legends from Count Basie to B.B. King and home to locals such as Conrad Johnson and Sam Lightin’ Hopkins.
While the Third Ward is changing and a large Hispanic population is settling in the area, it remains an old stalwart of African-American life.
Reference: Super Neighborhood 67, City of Houston website
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