Texas History and Antebellum Slavery


The Africanist Presence in the Colony and Republic of Texas

There is a significant body of documentation related to antebellum slavery and the presence of Africans and African Americans during the colonial, Revolutionary, and early republic periods in Texas.  This exhibit is the creation of graduate students in the Department of English at UTA who participated in bringing to light the fuller extent to which a number of university special collections  and other archives reveals the African-American presence in Texas, from the 1820s till the beginning of the Civil War.  The project is supervised by professor Cedrick May, of the University Of Texas at Arlington Department of English.


Students of the fall English 6339 Graduate Seminar in Early African-American Research and Technology


Bills of Sale: The Slave Trade in Texas


Slavery in the Pre- and Post-Republic Periods

This section highlights documents located in various Special Collections, archives, and historic sites in Texas that relate directly to the sale of slaves in the state.

Music and Slavery in Antebellum Texas

This section highlights the music that was composed addressing issues related to slavery in Texas. It mainly focuses on the Yellow Rose of Texas legend and its connection to the ballad of the same name. It also features the handwritten manuscript of the song "No Slave Beneath the Starry Sky" written by a Union soldier who served as a lieutenant a black regiment.

Legal Documents

This section focuses on various legal documents related to the valuation, upkeep, or legal status of slaves in Texas. Of particular note is the "Recall Petition" of Lorenzo Sherwood, a Texas legislator who was ejected from the state senate for being an outspoken abolitionist. 


This section contins letters from inhabitants of Texas who owned slaves. The letters in this section all contain mention of those human beings who were owned by these early Texas settlers and founders of the Republic and state.