Why Did African Americans Come to Tucson?

by Jannell Davis

Why Did African Americans Come to Tucson?

About the 1850s, many African American came to Tucson from Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Many came to this area to work in the cotton fields of Tucson itself and Eloy, Sahuarita, Marana, and Casa Grande. By 1900, there were only eighty-six African Americans--this is only 1.1 % of the total population of Tucson at that time.

By 1912, when Arizona became a state, Anglo Americans and African Americans from the South were moving into Tucson and bringing with them laws and beliefs regarding segregated housing, job positions, and education. Such attitudes helped result in segregated neighborhoods like A-Mountain and South Park.

Source: Inclan, Manuel B.ā€¯Settling the Mountain: The Early Development of the A-Mountain Neighborhood." History Paints a Beautiful Picture: A Report on A-Mountain Neighborhood History for the Casa Alegre Mural Project. Tucson, AZ: Tucson/Pima Arts Council, 1998.