AFRICAN AMERICANS. People of African descent are some of the oldest residents of Texas. Beginning with the arrival of Estevanico in 1528, African Texans have had a long heritage in the state and have worked alongside Americans of Mexican, European, and indigenous descent to make the state what it is today. The African-American experience and history in Texas has also been paradoxical. On the one hand, people of African descent have worked with others to build the state's unique cultural heritage, making extraordinary contributions to its music, literature, and artistic traditions. But on the other hand, African Americans have been subjected to slavery, racial prejudice, segregation, and exclusion from the mainstream of the state's institutions. Despite these obstacles and restrictions, their contributions to the state's development and growth have been truly remarkable.By 1840, 13,000 African Americans were enslaved in Texas. By 1850, 48,000 were enslaved, and by 1860, 169,000—30 percent of the Texas population. In this "empire for slavery," according to historian Randolph Campbell, the experience of enslaved African Americans was similar to that in other parts of the American South. The records gathered by Campbell as well as the testimony of African Americans enslaved in Texas attest to the fact that enslaved African Americans in Texas had as harsh and as easy a lot as those who were enslaved in other parts of the South. Two cases illustrate this fact. In 1861 a Canadian newspaper published the story of Lavinia Bell, a black woman who had been kidnapped at an early age and sold into slavery in Texas. She escaped from bondage and told of being forced to work naked in the cottonfields near Galveston. She also told about how after her first escape attempt, she was physically mutilated and beaten severely by her owner. Other African Americans who were enslaved in Texas told similar stories of violence and cruelty by their owners. Hundreds sought to escape, especially to Mexico. But there were also cases such as that of Joshua Houston, who was owned by Texas patriot Sam Houston. Joshua, owned initially by Houston's second wife, became an important member of Houston's family. He was treated well, taught to read and write, and prepared well for his eventual emancipation by the Houston family. After the Civil War Joshua became a politician in Huntsville, and, as if to underscore his loyalty to his former owners, on one occasion he offered to lend money to Sam Houston's widow when she faced financial difficulties.These achievements were the result of African-American Texans' ongoing struggle for equal opportunity and human dignity. African Americans have lived in the area known as Texas as long as any other ethnic group except Native Americans. Throughout their history in the state, they have contributed their blood, sweat, and hard labor to make Texas what it has become in the twenty-first century. In 2011 over 3,000,000 African-Americans lived in Texas, but they formed only 12 percent of the state's population. Two-thirds of African-American Texans lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston metropolitan areas. Nearly one million African Americans were spread across the state from Texarkana to El Paso and Amarillo to Corpus Christi. They made up significant parts of the populations in Beaumont, Port Arthur, Austin, and San Antonio. Their contributions to the history and culture of these smaller cities were just as significant as in those in the major metropolitan areas of the state. Overall, no matter where they lived in the state, African-American citizens had to work and struggle to overcome and reverse the negative aspects of the previous 450 years. In 2013 they have made major progress toward overcoming the historic paradox that made them some of the state's most productive and creative citizens, but also some of its most oppressed.