As we approach Black History Month, which is celebrated in February, the online and offline activities to celebrate black history connections are burgeoning.
The Texas Slavery Project examines the spread of slavery into the border areas between the U. S. and Mexico from 1820-1850. The government of Mexico was trying outlaw slavery in Texas. This was a big reason that part of the settlers rebelled and established the Republic of Texas. From 1836 to 1845, slaveholders from the American South poured into this new nation between the borders of the United States and Mexico.
The Project includes a statistical database that, while not showing names of either slaves or owners, is still enlightening. Maps show the growth of both the slaves and slaveholders over time. I found the changing clusters of slavery fascinating. You can do this by moving the timeline at the bottom of the page.
A variety of digitized original documents give a first-hand glimpse, feelings, and the activity of the time period in early Texas. It is the history of more than the slavery of the area. The documents include some early newspapers. It was chilling to read of the offering of a woman and her three-year old child for sale, of free slaves being denied entry into Texas by law or facing fines and forced slavery, and of rewards being offered for the return of runaway slaves. Some slaves, slaveowners, and business owners are mentioned by name in the newspaper abstracts. A 23 February 1830 letter in the papers of James Perry, brother-in-law to Stephen F. Austin, names the slaves James was receiving from his brother Samuel.
© 2009, Paula Stuart-Warren. All rights reserved.