Dr. Andrea Roberts

Dr. Andrea Roberts is an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning and the Texas Freedom Colonies Project Founder and Director. She holds a Ph.D. in community and regional planning from The University of Texas at Austin (2016), an M.A. in government administration from the University of Pennsylvania (2006), and a B.A. in political science from Vassar College (1996). Her 12 years of community development and government administration experience inform her efforts to move disappearing African American communities–facing sprawl, gentrification, and resource extraction –from the margin to the center of public discourse.

Her research frames planning & historic preservation practices as avenues to social justice. Her scholarship and digital humanities platforms tell the story of freedom colonies, African American settlements founded after Juneteenth in Texas between 1865-1930. The Journal of Planning History, Buildings and Landscapes, the Journal of the American Planning Association, the Journal of Community Archaeology and Heritage, Planning Theory & Practice, and Environmental Justice have published her peer-reviewed scholarship on Black Planning history, Black feminist preservation, and participatory preservation.

In 2014, she founded The Texas Freedom Colonies Project, a research and social justice initiative. The Project’s student researchers, community-based collaborators, and the freedom colony diaspora contribute to The TXFCP Atlas, a publicly accessible map filled with descendants’ visual histories and stories of historical and contemporary information about life in 443 of the 557 known settlements in Texas. The Atlas. The Atlas is the first statewide effort to make disparate ecological and development impacts on historic Black communities visible to the public, practitioners, and policymakers and integrate freedom colonies and their descendants into contemporary planning processes. The Texas Department of Transportation, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Council of Texas Archeologists use the platform to identify Black historic resources at risk.

Dr. Roberts is also the Consultant/Owner of Freedom Colonies Project, LLC, which provides engaged design support, DEI program development for preservation organizations, research design, and public speaking throughout the U.S. She has consulted on the University of Virginia’s Charlottesville Cultural Landscape Atlas, Florida State University’s Legacy Communities Project, and the Getty Institute to help them develop participatory mapping models like The Atlas. Dr. Roberts has conducted workshops for the Texas Historical Commission, the Urban Land Institute, and The American Society of Landscape Architects.

She is a Texas State Board of Review member, which advises Texas’ SHPO concerning National Register nominations and the Mellon Foundation’s National Monument Audit Advisory Board. She has received awards for her engaged scholarship from The Vernacular Architecture Forum and the Urban Affairs Association. Dr. Roberts is a 2020-21 Whiting Public Engagement Fellow and was a 2020 Visiting Scholar at Yale’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, Abolition. She is currently writing a book about grassroots or outsider, Black historic preservation practice for The University of Texas Press.

Recent Publications

PEER-REVIEWED
Andrea Roberts (2020). “The End of Bootstraps and Good Masters: Fostering Social Inclusion through Counternarrative Creation”
Publisher’s Website

Sletto, B., Stiphany, K., Futrell Winslow, J., Roberts, A., Torrado, M., Reyes, A., Reyes, A., Yunda, J., Wirsching, C., Choi, K. and Tajchman, K., 2020. Demystifying Academic Writing in the Doctoral Program: Writing Workshops, Peer Reviews, and Scholarly Identities.
Publisher’s Website

Andrea Roberts. 2020. “Haunting As Agency”
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A. Roberts & M. Matos (2020). “Adaptive liminality: Bridging and bonding social capital between urban and rural Black meccas”
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Andrea Roberts (2020). Count the Outside Children! Kinkeeping as Preservation Practice Among Descendants of Texas’ Freedom Colonies
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Andrea Roberts (2019). “Until the Lord Come Get Me, It Burn Down, Or the Next Storm Blow It Away”: The Aesthetics of Freedom in African American Vernacular Homestead Preservation
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A. Roberts, & M. J. Biazar (2018). “Black Placemaking in Texas: Sonic and Social Histories of Newton and Jasper County Freedom Colonies”
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A. Roberts & G. Kelly (2018). “Remixing as Praxis: Arnstein’s Ladder through the Grassroots Preservationist’s Lens”
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Andrea Roberts (2018). “Interpretations & Imaginaries: Toward an Instrumental Black Planning History”
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Andrea Roberts (2018). “Performance as place preservation: The role of storytelling in the formation of Shankleville Community’s Black counterpublics”
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Jennifer Minner, Andrea Roberts, Michael Holleran & Joshua Conrad (2018). “A Smart City Remembers its Past: Citizens as Sensors in Survey and Mapping of Historic Places”
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Andrea Roberts (2017). “The Farmers’ Improvement Society and the Women’s Barnyard Auxiliary of Texas: African American Community Building in the Progressive Era.”
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Andrea Roberts (2016). “What’s Missing from Black Counternarratives to Donald Trump”
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Jennifer Minner, Michael Holleran, Andrea Roberts & Joshua Conrad (2015). “Capturing Volunteered Historical Information: Lessons from Development of a Local Government Crowdsourcing Tool.”
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ESSAYS, OPINION, FEATURE
Andrea Roberts (2018).  “A city in Texas discovered a mass grave of prison laborers. So what should it do with the bodies?”
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Andrea Roberts (2018). “Sugar Land: Treat the mass grave of black prisoners discovered in Texas with respect”

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Andrea Roberts (2018). ” Land Mass Grave: Texas City Finds Burial Site of Black Prison Laborers”
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Andrea Roberts (2018). “A Texas city discovered a mass grave of prison laborers. What should it do with the bodies?”
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Andrea Roberts (2018). “Analysis: Why Texas should brace to hear about more mass graves”
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Andrea Roberts (2018). “The Mass Grave Beneath a Texas Suburb”
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Andrea Roberts (2018).  The Texas Freedom Colonies Study & Project
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Andrea Roberts (2018). “Portals to Freedom, or Researching in Limbo Time,” Platform: Convergent Voices, A Journal of the UT Austin School of Architecture’, Ed. Nichole Wiedemann and Charlton Lewis

Brand, A., Brown, Davis, L, Ford, M., Hood, W., Lopez, S., Roberts, A., Robles Jr., J. (2017). “Conversation 030317” Platform: Convergent Voices, A Journal of the UT Austin School of Architecture’, Ed. Nichole Wiedemann and Charlton Lewis

Andrea Roberts (2017). “When Does It Become Social Justice? Thoughts on Intersectional Preservation Practice”
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Andrea Roberts (2017). “Documenting and Preserving Texas Freedom Colonies”
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Anna Brand & Andrea Roberts (2016). “Commentary: Better Communities Require Better-Educated Planners”
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Andrea Roberts (2017). “Homeplace: Identity, Place, and Planning”. Reading List
Publisher’s website

BOOK REVIEW
Andrea Roberts (2017). “Book Review: Black Georgetown remembered: A history of its black community from the founding of “The Town of George” in 1751 to 4 the present day”
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CREATIVE NON-FICTION
Andrea Roberts (2018). “Arrivals: 1930, 1964” from What’s the New News, Issue 1
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Andrea Roberts (2018). “The Poetics of Black Imagination” from What’s the New News, Issue 2
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Andrea Roberts (2017). “Old Developments: Sovereign Spaces Reclaimed”
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Andrea Roberts (2015). “Sacred Forest, Piney Veil: Black Landscapes of Deep Texas”
Publisher’s website 

Andrea Roberts (2015). “Critical Sankofa Planning-Mobilizing Texas Freedom Colony Memories”
Publisher’s website 

Andrea Roberts. (2009) “An Epistle to the Revolutionary Bible,” from Medina, T., & Rivera, L. R. (Eds.).  Bum rush the page: A def poetry jam. Broadway Books.

Google Scholar Citations

Professional Profile

Office:

aroberts318@tamu.edu