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!

Herman Wright, at Wright Brothers Ranch spring, Mt Union, Jasper Co.
Gwen Bluiett, Mt. Union Resident, volunteering at Jasper County Historical Commission

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 enhancing pride and quality of life in the community. The Association plans to accomplish this by: acquiring land and structures to build educational and recreational facilities to provide a year-around educational and recreational site for the community of West Jasper County, specifically county precincts 1 “. The story behind this group, their accomplishments, and history is simply amazing. Stay tuned for more from this group.

 Shankleville Community’s annual homecoming always includes a scholarship competition (Newton County). Each participant writes a speech that discusses the values of the settlements’ founders.

I encountered the Erin School in Magnolia Springs Community during one of many tours led by descendants of the area (Herman Wright, Gwen Bluiett). Former schools have often been repurposed by local communities.