Freedom Colony Digital Humanities Projects

During the Fall 2018 semester, graduate students in the Critical Places Studies class at Texas A&M University (College of Architecture, Dept of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning) created individual projects based on The Texas Freedom Colonies Project Atlas. Later in November students presented their works to the public at Brazos Valley African American Museum in Bryan, Texas.
Instructor: Dr. Andrea Roberts
Assistants: Melina Matos | MJ Biazar
Students:  Jacqueline Kuzio | Grace Kelly | Isabel Martinez | Felicity Owens | Malini Roy | Joy Semien

Student projects presentation at Brazos Valley African American Museum in Bryan
Dr. Roberts Introducing The Texas Freedom Colonies Project
Dr. Roberts introducing students and their projects
JacquelineKuzio presenting her project
Grace Kelly presenting her project
Isabel Martinez presenting her project

Be Encouraged! Profiles in Freedom Colony Courage, Issue #2. Stringfellow Orchards, Part I

Part I: The Beginning of the Journey
Samuel Collins, III
23 July 2018
My journey in preservation starts a little over fourteen years ago. I stopped to read a Texas Historical Commission subject marker at 7902 Hwy 6 in Hitchcock. The historic site was Stringfellow Orchards and growing up in Hitchcock I had driven by it many times. The marker was placed there in 1992, but I had never stopped to read it. After reading it and driving on the site I thought to myself this would be a great project to flip as an investment.

The 1884 Queen Anne Victorian house sitting in the middle of almost ten acres seemed to be calling me to save it. I looked up the owners in the county tax records and let them know I was interested. In 2004 I was in the middle of changing investment firms and thought it was too big of a project to take on at the time.

The 1884 Queen Anne Victorian House 

This diamond in the rough remained hidden behind the overgrown vegetation. I didn’t know at the time, but there were over thir…

Announcement! Online Black Settlement Atlas, Statewide Survey Goes Live July 12!

TAMU Scholar Testing Online Black Settlement Atlas, Launching Statewide Survey 
The Texas Freedom Colonies Project invites you  to participate in a statewide study & to test a new mapping application!
Learn How to Access Portal Here

Dr. Andrea Roberts (The Texas Freedom Colonies Project Founder) and her research team, are excited to announce the launch of a new crowdsourcing project: The Texas Freedom Colonies Atlas along with a survey of settlement locations, preservation activities, and culture.

Since 2014, The Texas Freedom Colonies Project has documented Black settlement heritage and grassroots preservation practice among descendants of these historic communities. Freedom Colonies are everywhere, hidden behind the pine curtain of the rural countryside and beneath the concrete landscapes of Houston, Austin, and Dallas. A large number of freedom colonies were never mapped or became "ghost" settlements and the diaspo…

AUDIO: My Study, Your Freedom Colony Stories: Planning & Preservation in Texas' Black Settlements

Pictured, Mary Shankle (Liberty Community, Newton County) and Gwen Bluiett (Mount Union, Jasper County) at the 2014 Shankleville Homecoming, Photo by Andrea Roberts

Andrea Roberts, PhD is the founder of the Texas Freedom Colonies Project and is an Emerging Scholar Fellow at the School of Architecture, University of Texas at Austin. This presentation represents the culmination of the first phase of her research with descendants of Black settlements (also known as Freedmen's Towns or Freedom Colonies) any of which were founded by former slaves. The presentation was made at the Purple Hull Pea Festival, in Shankleville Texas (a Freedom Colony). Results of this initial ethnographic and participatory action study were discussed with some of the participants.

Email Andrea Roberts to request the PowerPoint presentation that accompanied the audio or to learn more about her research.

Hear Texas Freedom Colonies Project on the Soul Summit 2015 Panel on Women, Power and Food

Just the audio pick me up I needed this morning please check out this wonderful podcast and thanks to Nicole Taylor for featuring The Texas Freedom Colonies Project so prominently
Posted by The Texas Freedom Colonies Project on Thursday, October 8, 2015

Texas Freedom Colonies Project Research Update - Deep East Texas

I started the Texas Freedom Colonies Project to support my research and investigate the interests, legacy, and planning and preservation needs of descendants of these unique communities. Over the past few months I've learned a lot from Freedom Colony residents and non-residents committed to preserving these places and the legacy of community founders! My initial research is focused on communities in Deep East Texas, "behind the pine curtain". Here are some highlights that are also available on the #TXFCProject Facebook page.
Special thanks to Gwen Bluiett & Herman Wright! They are just a few of the many Freedom Colony descendants that make me feel at home in East Texas!

Last Saturday, I spent the afternoon with leaders from The Community and Family Historical Preservation Association, LLC. They "exist to sustain and advance the interests of its members in keeping with the legacy and memory of Dixie, Bevil Port, Neely Grove and Beech Grove/ G.W. Carver while enhanc…

TX Freedom Colony Symposium: Celebrating freedom, family, & fun at the Texas Purple Hull Pea Festival

Descendants of Texas' Historic Black Settlements Speak Out at Texas Freedom Colony Symposium