Freedom Colonies to be discussed during Jan. 23 LCHC meeting in Liberty

Photo credit: Portal to Texas History

The Liberty County Historical Commission will meet on Monday, January 23, 6 p.m. in the A. J. “Jack” Hartel Building, 318 San Jacinto Street for its regular quarterly meeting and the first in 2023. New officers will be elected and installed, committee sign-ups will take place, and the agenda will be set for the next two years. 

“It is very important all commission appointees attend this meeting and participate,” said LCHC Chair Linda Jamison in an emailed statement.

February is Black History Month, and LCHC will celebrate by having an interesting program and discussion on The Texas Freedom Colonies Project, which was initiated by Dr. Andrea Roberts, formerly of Texas A & M University and now of the University of Virginia.  LCHC will host a guest speaker from The Texas Freedom Colonies Project with an educational PowerPoint presentation. 

According to the project website, Freedom Colonies are places that were settled by formerly enslaved people during the Reconstruction and Jim Crow eras in Texas following Emancipation.  From 1865 – 1930, African Americans accumulated land and founded 557 historic black settlements or “Freedom Colonies.”  These colonies were created largely in response to political and economic repression. 

In these places, black Texans could much better avoid the perils of debt bondage, sharecropping, and racialized violence and live largely self-sustaining, independent lives on their own property.  Since their founding, Freedom Colony descendants have dispersed, and hundreds of settlements’ status and locations are unknown. 

Did we have Freedom Colonies in Liberty County?  If so, where?  Does the community still exist?  A majority of known Freedom Colonies are located in the eastern half of Texas.  Why?  The eastern half of the state contained a majority of the farmland and plantations on which the formerly enslaved once worked.  There are many questions to be discovered, discussed, and answered during the meeting, so attendance is encouraged.

Meetings of the Liberty County Historical Commission are open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.  For more information, please email or text/call 936-334-5813. 

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