Reclaiming our Stories: Preserving Texas' African American Placemaking History


October 30, 2021 12:00pm - 2:00pm

Join us for a conversation and workshop on local and statewide African American placemaking heritage.

Event Details

Formerly enslaved people founded hundreds of historic Black settlements in Texas during the Reconstruction and Jim Crow eras. Since their founding, Freedom Colony descendants have dispersed, and the status and location of many settlements are unknown. Many of these communities, known as Freedom Colonies or Freedmens' Towns, struggle to survive. However, some descendants continue to document place histories and preserve what remains.

This event brings together descendants, local museums, and archivists to help tell the whole story of African American settlement and preservation in Texas. In the first half of this event, learn about The Texas Freedom Colonies Project's efforts to identify, map, and record history of freedom colonies' churches, schools, cemeteries, and lodges through collaborative research with descendants. Hear community origin stories, promising preservation practices, and the challenges descendants face.

During the second half of the program, The TXFC Project and local artists and archivists will lead a workshop on strategies for digitizing their photos and documents, quilt preservation, and ethically recording oral histories. Attendees may share settlement images and stories with the public through The TXFC Project's Atlas. Representatives from local museums and archives will discuss donation procedures. Participating organizations include: CTA (Council of Texas Archaeologists), Huston-Tillotson University| Downs-Jones Library, Travis County Historical Commission, The Alexander Farm - Pilot Knob TX, Austin History Center and Textile Artist & Independent Researcher, Jennifer Steverson.

This program is being held in conjunction with the exhibition Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow, now on view at the Bullock Museum.

Program is FREE to the public.

Educators, to receive CPE credit please email

Your Support Matters

Help us continue to share the story of Texas through free programs with a tax-deductible donation.

Enjoy discounts, exclusive programs, and free access to exhibitions year-round by becoming a member of the Bullock Museum.

About the Texas Freedom Colonies Project

The Texas Freedom Colonies Project is an educational, social justice initiative dedicated to preserving the heritage of Texas' historic African American settlements' heritage and the planners and preservationists that made them possible. The Texas Freedom Colonies Project puts freedom colonies on the map, and at the center of Texas history. Our goal is to prevent the erasure, destruction, and decay of home/farmsteads, churches, lodges, and schools within settlements in partnership with descendant communities.

Support for The Texas Freedom Colonies Project provided by The Whiting Foundation

Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow was organized by the New-York Historical Society. Lead support for the exhibition provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. Major support provided by the Ford Foundation and Crystal McCrary and Raymond J. McGuire.

Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in these programs do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Support provided by the Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation and Jeanne and Michael L. Klein.

The Bullock Texas State History Museum is a division of the Texas State Preservation Board. Additional support for educational programming provided by the Texas State History Museum Foundation.