Feb 20, 2024 - News

Early San Antonio Black-owned business to get historic marker

Black and white photos of P.F. Roberts outside of his store and with his wife Ira with their child, Henrietta.

P.F. Roberts outside of his store and with his wife, Ira, and their child, Henrietta. Photos: Courtesy of UTSA

A new historical marker will honor the place where P.F. Roberts' grocery store, one of San Antonio's first Black-owned businesses, once stood.

What's happening: The University of Texas at San Antonio and Frost Bank are partnering to host an event Thursday at 1:30pm to unveil a Texas Historic Landmark plaque at the site.

  • The original address and building no longer exist, but the marker will be installed at 610 Indianola St.

Roberts was a community leader, civil rights advocate and founding member of the NAACP San Antonio Chapter.

Flashback: Roberts, whose parents were both enslaved, graduated as the valedictorian from Tougaloo College in Mississippi before moving to San Antonio in 1895, according to UTSA.

  • He taught at Norris Wright Cuney School, in what was once the Baptist Settlement neighborhood.
  • The 10-square-block neighborhood, which was in the area of present-day Lavaca and Labor streets, was one of the first places where free Black people were able to settle in Bexar County.
  • Roberts' business was one of the only grocery stores in the neighborhood.

Roberts befriended Thomas Claiborne "T.C." Frost, founder of Frost Bank, when he moved to San Antonio.

  • The banker is said to have loaned Roberts $2,000 in 1896, to help him with his endeavors, a bold move considering the discrimination at that time.
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