Welcome to Our New Monthly Newsletter!

The Texas Freedom Colonies Project Newsletter is going monthly to share more freedom colony stories and resources for descendants and advocates. Read on for a Freedom Colony Feature, the NEW Texas African American Cemetery Registry, our Juneteenth Coffee Talk, Events, and more!

Freedom Colony Feature

Freedom Colony Feature: Mudville/Steele’s Store/Stone City/Mumford (Brazos County)

Like many freedom colonies, the freedom colonies of the Brazos Bottom went by more than one name. Mudville, Steele’s Store, Stone City, and Mumford are all names given for communities in the Brazos Bottom, the fertile area between the Brazos and Little Brazos Rivers. Three quarters of Steele’s Store’s residents in 1878 were Black. Three Black men rose to early prominence in the community, Dennis Ballard (county commissioner), Matt Eaton (justice of the peace), and Powell Harvey (precinct constable). At the same time, Italian immigrants were beginning to settle in the area; the Steele’s Store historical marker omits any mention of the Black residents. Read more about Mudville/Steele’s Store.

A building on Steele Store Road, Brazos County.

A final resting place united some residents of Steele’s Store and several other Brazos Bottom communities – Canaan Cemetery. The cemetery was connected with at least two churches and several communities. Military service records of those buried at Canaan indicate they came from Steele’s Store, Stone City, and Hall’s Addition freedom colonies.

The Texas Freedom Colonies Project is supporting doctoral researchers Annaliese Dempsey and Rachel Matheny as they document and digitally preserve archaeological materials including headstones as well as more ephemeral grave markers and grave goods from the cemetery. The archaeological data from the cemetery will then be used in conjunction with descendent interviews to create an anthropologically-informed history of burial practices in the Brazos Valley. Canaan Cemetery is a body archive that provides a window into the freedom colony life in the Brazos Valley in the century following emancipation.

Do you have more information about Mudville, Steele’s Store, Stone City, Mumford, or Canaan Cemetery? Share your story!

Would you like your freedom colony featured in a future newsletter? Email us!

TxFCP News

Introducing the Texas African American Cemetery Registry

The Texas African American Cemetery Registry is a voluntary database of Black burial grounds in Texas. Our aim is to create a resource for stewards that guides us in providing assistance that will help you determine the best way to preserve your cemetery. The Cemetery Registry allows cemetery stewards, visitors, and stakeholders to upload important information about the condition of the cemetery. Users can upload photos and documents, provide insight on maintenance, and much more!

Submit to the Registry

We also have a new website! Check it out!

TxFCP Events

Join Us for Juneteenth Coffee Talk: Black Land and the Future of Freedom Colonies

Wednesday, June 16 at 11am · Zoom Webinar

Our Juneteenth Coffee Talk will tackle Black land loss in historical context, maintaining connections to family land, and explain new USDA initiatives for Black farmers. As always we will highlight fascinating voices from the descendant community and TxFCP resources. Register today!


Aya Symposium – July 22: The Aya Symposium, a multidisciplinary exploration of freedom colonies, will focus on “The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” for the virtual symposium this year. We’re looking forward to seeing you there (virtually!)

Other Events

Juneteenth: There are many other in person and virtual events this year to celebrate and educate about Juneteenth. Check out our Juneteenth Events List and our Juneteenth Reading List.

Questions or comments? Email us! Thank you for reading!

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