San Antonio's Black Heritage
Discover the Soul of San Antonio - Karibu!
‘Karibu’ /kaˈri.bu/ translates to ‘You’re Welcome’ and is usually the reply to ‘Asante’ ‘Tena’ means ‘Again’ used as in ‘Karibu Tena’ which means ‘You’re welcome again/Come again’.
Starting with the Spanish exploration of Tejas, through the fight for independence statehood, to the present day, African descendants are contributors to the region’s history. From involuntary to voluntary migration, the residents of San Antonio include African Americans, African Mexicans, African Indigenous, African Caribbean, and African Natives.
Historically and currently, African descendants in the region worked as explorers, interpreters, soldiers, settlers, educators, pioneers, ranchers, surgeons, military officers, community advocates, publishers, politicians, preachers, doctors, attorneys, business owners, inventors, scientists, artists, entertainers, and much more! We invite you to explore the influence of Africa here in San Antonio year-round.
Enjoy the Soul of San Antonio Experiences
The residents of San Antonio include African Americans, African Mexicans, African Indigenous, African Caribbean, and African Natives. Come and experience the influence of Africa in San Antonio all year long! Find a tour below that speaks to you – or choose them all!
Annual Events You Don't Want to Miss
People gather from around the country on the third Monday in January to commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. What started as a grassroots effort in 1968 by the Rev. R.A. Callies has grown into the largest march in the nation. The celebration sponsored by the City of San Antonio is spread over multiple days and climates with over 300,000 people gathering to march for human and civil rights.
The DreamWeek Summit is a multi-day series of events designed with a singular purpose in mind: to foster the free exchange of ideas on universal issues affecting the human race. Events take a variety of forms, from symposiums, panel discussions, and debates to film screenings, concerts, and art exhibits. Since 2013, the summit has grown to include more than 100 partners hosting over 150 events throughout the San Antonio area annually and attracting a global audience of civic-minded individuals.
Black History Month
The month of February celebrates the contributions of African descendants in the United States. Tours, concerts, discussions, art galleries, exhibitions and shows are available daily throughout the city.
African American Book Festival
The fourth Saturday in February, the Friends of the Carver Library host this annual book festival celebrating the power of Black voices in writing and storytelling.
Black Restaurant Week
Black Restaurant Week San Antonio (BRWSA) is a week-long event that celebrates the contributions of Black-owned restaurants, food trucks, and businesses along with Black professionals in the culinary industry.
Taste of New Orleans
For more than 35 years, the annual “A Taste of New Orleans,” sponsored by the San Antonio Zulu Association, has become one of Fiesta® San Antonio’s most popular events. If you’re looking for fun with a focus on family, the “Taste” is the place to be.
St. Philip’s CultureFest & Rob Cook-Off
The St. Philip’s College Culture Fest and Rib Cook-Off is an official Fiesta® San Antonio and holds designation with a Green Platinum Certificate. It is a high-energy and kid-friendly festival featuring a rib cook-off, live music, a car show, food and non-food vendors, and several grill raffles, all in one location!
Fiesta® Family Blues Festival
On the last Friday of Fiesta, the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum presents their Blues Festival, an official Fiesta event. The event features local and national blues artists, vendors, and food trucks.
Pan African Cultural Festival
Annually, on the first Saturday in May, San Antonio is home to the Pan-African Cultural Festival, a free community celebration to promote unity and culture in the African world community.
Come enjoy engaging conversation and meet brothers and sisters from the Caribbean, Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, and Mexico. The festival features African drumming and dancing, an African fashion show, a Capoeira demonstration, poetry, storytelling, children’s activities, a Pan-African panel discussion, and more.
Juneteenth is a federal holiday observed on June 19th, celebrating the end of slavery. Although President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 started the nationwide abolishment of slavery, it wasn’t until June 19, 1865, that Texans were informed and enforced to comply with the Emancipation Proclamation.
The 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution, passed in January of 1865 and ratified on December 6, 1865, abolished slavery in the United States. San Antonio has celebrated Juneteenth for decades all over the city with a large festival, parade, and many neighborhood events.
The last weekend of July, San Antonio is home to the Reggae Festival. In addition to music that will keep you rocking all night long, enjoy over 50 food and cultural vendors, including food trucks, frozen treats, Jamaican foods, a children’s playground, face painters, hula hoops, and much more!
Omega Psi Phi Annual White Party
The Psi Alpha Foundation (PASF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping create a brighter future for young adults in our community. The annual White Martini Party is the biggest fundraiser of the year, providing scholarships for San Antonio’s Black, Bright, and Bold youth.
San Antonio Black International Film Festival
The mission of the San Antonio Black International Film Festival (SABIFF) is to showcase quality film genres indicative of vast Black experiences, advocate for, and support filmmakers of African descent. Held the first weekend of October, here you’ll find a myriad of stories, subject matters, voices, and diverse images of Black people throughout the global diaspora that have been historically under-represented.
The Kwanzaa Market is a place where Black businesses and Black entrepreneurs can connect with African American consumers and an opportunity to sell and purchase culturally enriching products, handmade goods, items for Kwanzaa celebration, African-inspired clothing, and accessories. It gives us an opportunity to prepare for the official holiday (Dec 26 – Jan 1) while practicing one of its major principles – Ujamaa (cooperative economics)!
Find even more information, events to check out, restaurants, and attractions, adult-focused experiences, family fun, and so much more in the “Discover the Soul of San Antonio”!