Black Borderlands: Understanding the Pull of El Paso, 1900-1940



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Most research into the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands region deals primarily with the Mexican, Anglo-European, and Native American populations that have interacted and adapted to life in a region between nations. The scholarship surrounding Texas history largely follows the state’s role during the Civil War, Texas Independence, military leaders, political change over time, and race relations between the Anglo population and the larger Mexican and Mexican-American populations. Not much has been done regarding African-American history or their migration in both the borderlands region and the western part of Texas from 1900 to 1940. This is especially true in El Paso, whose large Mexican-American population serves as the basis for most scholarship on the city. El Paso serves as a historical anomaly at a time in United States history when racial tensions were at an impressive high. El Paso managed to exist as a hub of some semblance of racial unity and a city of opportunity for African Americans. To understand why El Paso is such an outlier in the history of African American migration and life within United States borders, historians need to understand what enticed African Americans to settle on Texas’s borders in spite of numerous factors that otherwise dissuaded settlers. This study argues that despite larger state-wide tensions, El Paso was as a major pull factor that resulted in the settlement of thousands of African Americans at a time where the deep South saw a mass exodus of non-white peoples.



History, Black


Permalink for this item. Use this when sharing or citing this source.