Home > Uncategorized > Group One/A’s Annotated Bibliography

Group One/A’s Annotated Bibliography

Katie Mead, Susana Contreras, Charlotte Griesel,

John Vela, and Andrew Snyder

Dr. Stockton and Dr. Evans

10 March 2011

The Loss and Recovery of Texas Slavery: An Annotated Bibliography

What was the African American experience in antebellum Georgetown, Texas?


Barr, Alwyn. Black Texans: A History of Negroes in Texas, 1528-1971.

Austin: Jenkins, 1973. Print.

Barr’s Black Texans is represents one of the first (if not the first) historical books concerning the specifically Texan history of African Americans. Barr’s dedicated a full chapter to slavery, detailing the changes and evolutions of the filthy institution throughout Texas history (including a nod to Frederick Olmsted’s observations). He also dedicated a chapter to the experiences of freedmen, providing not only firsthand accounts and reactions to emancipation but also a brief history of the legal and political issues involved. These last two chapters will be of particularly good use to our project as they provide a plethora of quotations from ex-slaves, ex-slaveholders, politicians, and even ex-Confederate soldiers speaking to specific opinions and feelings of those people involved. Combined with Barr’s unique focus on Texas, these details provide our group with a base of historical facts, names, and primary sources upon which to explain and build our interpretation of African American experiences antebellum.


Campbell, Randolph B. An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in

Texas, 1821-1865. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press,

1989. Print.

As discovered in class, Campbell’s An Empire for Slavery is another text concentrating on the history of slavery in Texas. It includes a great deal of information concerning the experiences and historical realities of freedmen alongside a wealth of pertinent statistics and quantitative information. Specifically, he offers numbers concerning how many African Americans were in Texas at given periods in time, how African Americans were enslaved or freed, as well as trace behavioral patterns, physical accommodations, and details of the Texas antebellum culture. For us this text will be of use insofar as supplementing Alwyn Barr’s primary source material with information on the physical aspects of African American experiences during this era. Utilizing this material will enable us, as a group focused on the question of African American experiences, to understand the physical trials faced by many enslaved and freedmen African Americans as well as better understand the slaveholding cultural mores and beliefs which stood against the freedom of African Americans in Texas (whether they were bondsmen or freedmen).




Doerfler, Claudia Millegan (Compiled by). Surname Index to Bonds Plus

Slaves Listed, 1850-1858. Williamson County, TX: Lib. of County

Clerk’s Office. Accessed: 7 Feb. 2011.

This collection, stored in the Williamson County Clerk’s Office, is a list of transcribed legal documentation from the years of 1850 to 1858 concerning the sale of African Americans as slaves in Georgetown, Texas. The collection includes both the transcribed (typed) list as well as the original documents (available for photocopy for a dollar a page). Each transaction includes the first names of the African Americans and the surnames of the slaveholders involved; many of the entries also include details as to the complexion of the slaves, physical impairments, general age, date, and monetary price. This index is useful for our group because of the level of detail paid to each African American involved, providing us an exceptionally specific type of image of many of the enslaved peoples living in Georgetown at the time. This image, that painted and left for posterity by the slaveholders of early Georgetown, proffers a strange and disturbing lens for understanding individual African American experiences. It forces us to put names under these vague categories of “enslaved” and “slaveholder,” and to recognize just how heavily white-washed this aspect African American history has become.




Glasrud, Bruce A., and James M. Smallwood. The African American

Experience in Texas: An Anthology. Lubbock: Texas Tech University

Press, 2007. Print.

Glasrud and Smallwood’s anthology contains multiple articles directly concerning African American experiences in antebellum Texas. They include articles written by the aforementioned Alwyn Barr (“Black Urban Churches on the Southern Frontier, 1865-1900”) and Randolph Campbell (“Human Property: The Black Slave in Harrison County, 1850-1860”). Campbell’s chapter is of particular interest considering that it is a case study focused on challenging predominant preconceptions of Texas slavery through the utilization of primary sources. Those primary sources as well as his expert interpretation of them in conjunction with the other eight articles included in the 19th Century section, will aid us in our understanding of freedmen experiences (as they are a vital part of the African American antebellum experience and yet one of the most poorly documented).




O’Donovan, Susan Eva. Becoming Free in the Cotton South. Boston: Harvard

University Press, 2007. Print.

O’Donovan’s Becoming Free explains how African American men and women’s experiences in slavery affected their lives after attaining freedom. It covers both the antebellum and emancipation eras. However, as the title may imply, it is not a text focused upon the Texas region, but primarily upon Georgia. We have included this resource in our body of research due to the potential for understanding via comparison which it promises. By comparing the information found in this text with those we’ve found in other texts specifically concerned with Texas, we may be able to better understand what aspects of the Texas narratives and experiences are unique to Texas.





Scarbrough, Clara Stearns. Land of Good Water: A Williamson County, Texas

History. Georgetown: Williamson County Sun Publishers, 1998. Print.

Clara Scarbrough’s book illuminates the surprisingly deep history of Williamson County including information not simply on the issues of slavery but also on aspects of the physical landscape such as the wildlife of the area. She also provides a uniquely broad yet detailed look at the early antebellum era of Georgetown (and surrounding areas), Texas. Her work includes information on early settlements and settlers (and is available at the Round Rock Public Library). This work is of exceptional use to us as it focuses not only on Georgetown specifically but also includes a wide range of information not simply limited to slavery; it provides a broader, more holistic view of what life may have been like in that time and place.





Schoen, Harold. “The Free Negro in the Republic of Texas.” The Southwestern

Historical Quarterly 41.1 (1937): 83-108. Print.

Schoen’s article focuses upon the history of freedmen in Texas. It does not specifically mention Williamson County but provides a great deal of census information from varying years and sources.  This article works to answer the question of the origin of the “Free Negro” in Texas, discussing also some of the “special regulations” put up to limit their freedom. Though it doesn’t center on Georgetown, we intend to utilize the experiences of other freedmen and compare them with the information derived here in order to fill gaps in our understanding, formulate a more holistic view of the general freedmen experience.





Tyler, Ron and Lawrence R. Murphy. The Slave Narratives of Texas. State

House Press, 2006. Paper Edition.

This anthology is a compilation of slave narratives similar to those WPA slave narratives provided in class. In the preface, Murphy and Tyler discuss many of the same issues we as a class discussed when attempting to utilize and interpret slave narratives as truthful interviews or documentation of otherwise oral histories. Their introduction outlines the history of slavery in Texas broadly in order to provide a skeleton for the chapters of slave narratives to follow. They provide nine different chapters encompassing different types of accounts from those of people being brought into Texas as slaves to narratives of those people escaping from slavery in Texas. This accumulation of slave stories could give us a better perspective of what life was like during antebellum Texas (so long as we bear in mind the limitations and possible white-washing involved in the recording and editing of these narratives). We also intend to look for themes that remain constant throughout these narratives and what they share in common with those discussed in class.





Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States, 1492-Present. New

York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2003. Print.

Zinn’s anthology is an historical account of the United States presented through the perspectives, issues, and primary source materials from minority groups, protest groups, and other peoples not in power. In his chapters concerning African American experiences (both antebellum and modern), he provides a great deal of material on the lives and plights faced by people both enslaved and free through not only his own voice but through theirs. He utilizes poems, firsthand accounts, and many other miscellaneous resources including more modern African American voices reflecting on the antebellum years in order to provide a different account of American history. However, he doesn’t focus on Texas but tackles America more generally. Despite this, it is useful in its more critical reflections on African American experiences generally (as an American community), rather than simply presenting us with narratives or demographic information from which we must attempt to discern any prevarication for ourselves.


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. March 8, 2011 at 11:45 am

    My apologies if the indentation of the sources are wonky — they wouldn’t translate into the blog format properly

  2. lhennigan
    March 8, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    I actually read Zinn’s “A People’s History” in high school and it was a really eye opening text. I agree that it relates to our project because we have to look at history from a perspective that isn’t our own and thats not something that we’re used to doing. I’ve always been told that winners write the history books and I’m glad Zinn is able to tell a different side of history. I think that this is part of our charge as well: to tell a different side of history than what many of us were taught or brought up believing.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: