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The official newsletter of the Texas Freedom Colonies Project

Adopt-A-County Program Launch This summer we launched the Adopt-A-County Program. We want to honor freedom colony descendants' stories and heritage and ensure they are involved in all facets of our research, including mapping missing freedom colonies. The TXFC Project Adopt-A-County Campaign was created to increase the number of freedom colony stories and locations we add to the Atlas by asking descendants and the public to help us locate data. The Team invites you to identify a county you would like to help us "complete." Adopting a county will mean that you will collect stories, images, photos, surveys, documents, maps, and other material and scan it so it can be uploaded to our TXFC Project Atlas and Database. With your help, we can locate, map, and host mini-archives for every county in which freedom colonies are located. If you want to get involved, simply scan the code to the bottom right or go to the Google Form to complete a survey that will sign you up for your county. What can you expect after that? 1. We will process your information and let you know we have received it for consideration. 2. We will reach back out to direct you to the corresponding Facebook group for your county. 3. Once you've joined the group you can stay connected with the other researchers in your area, discussing findings virtually. You then learn what kind of information is needed (what's missing?) and begin your search. We will feature some of what our teams find on our social media platforms! | |


Coffee Talk Series Success! TxFCP Launches a Monthly Live Show to About Freedom Colonies and Grassroots Preservationists The Project launched a monthly Coffee Talk series that takes place via Facebook Live. This is a time for our project team members, partners, descendants, and the public to discuss and learn, inform and celebrate, teach and collaborate. All of our coffee talks are uploaded in entirety to our YouTube Channel. This is all thanks to the Whiting Foundation, which is supporting our enhanced, online research through the Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship.

July 16th - Museum Curation & Preserving Black Settlements The July Coffee Talk included Oliver Sadberry (left), Brazos Valley African American Museum Curator, Dr. Cecilia Guisti (right), Associate Dean of Outreach and Diversity, TAMU College of Architecture and BVAAM Board Member, and Mildred Davis (bottom middle), BVAAM Board Member. We discussed the role of museum curation as it relates to the preservation of freedom colonies and Black settlements in general. | |



June 10th - Legacy of Juneteenth During our first Coffee Talk, we discussed COVID19 and the Legacy of Juneteenth. Our guests included Sam Collins, of Hitchcock, TX (left), and Yolanda Bozant, of Houston, TX (right). They discussed Juneteenth celebration planning in the midst of COVID and the persistant struggle for justice and freedom in the face of anti-Blackness.

August 21st - Honoring Our Ancestors Our latest Coffee Talk featured four guests that discussed African American burial ground stewardship, research, and preservation. These guests included Dr. Antoinette Harrell (top left), a Genealogist, Local Historian, and Peonage Researcher, Dr. Tara Dudley (top right), an Architectural Historian & Lecturer with the University of Texas - Austin, Diana Hernandez (bottom left), a University of Texas - Austin Master's Candidate, and Jennifer Blanks, M.S. (bottom right), a Texas A&M Doctoral Student and Founder of The Cemetery Sista, as well as a member of the Texas Freedom Colonies Project Team.

Don't Forget to Vote! Voting is essential to the preservation, celebration, and success of freedom colonies and their descendants. Our founding mothers and fathers built it this way and in order to continue in the footsteps of their legacy we need to vote! Why is it important to remember freedom colonies when voting? US Census - Freedom colonies are often ignored or severely undercounted on census tracts, leading to a lack of representation and access to public resources. Agency Leaderships - Freedom colonies and their descendants need local, state, and federal agencies for assistance, resources, and grants, The leadership of these agencies determine the direction of their organization, and we need people that will include freedom colonies in policy agendas and agency actions. COVID Recovery - African American communities have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 virus. New policies and programs are going to be formed to assist vulnerable populations. and we need to elect people that will listen and respond to freedom colony needs.

Voting Resources United States - Voting and Elections Everything You Need to Vote State of Texas - Voting Texas Secretary of State Resources

CHELSEA PARADA TxFCP Featured Team Member We are happy to name Chelsea Parada (above), one of our undergraduate team members who works on our atlas and database, as our featured team member for the quarter! Chelsea is a native Texan working on a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Geoscience at Texas A&M University. She is currently in her senior year and has added minors in GIST and Geology. She is passionate about exploring the digital preservation processes of the built environment associated with freedom colonies. She is using her skills and interests in GIS to show spatial relationships of risk factors to the freedom colonies and assists in managing the Atlas 2.0 geodatabase. She is most excited about adding map data related to resource extraction and environmental hazards threatening freedom colonies. This summer Chelsea was able to complete a series of atlas analysis and reporting. These projects included a study of how many cemeteries, water features, census designated places, churches, and schools still remain in our freedom colonies, a story database project, and a governance project. She also assists in assisting the public and the team in maximizing the usefulness of the atlas. When people have a question, she works hard to find the answer. She has been working for our team since January 2020, and we are looking forward to seeing more of her success! | |

News and Media Mentions We were in the New York Times! "7 Things to Do this Weekend" (June 18 2020).  "How to Celebrate Juneteenth in N.Y.C." New York Times. (June 19 2020). "11 Ways to Celebrate Juneteenth in NYC" 6sqft. (June 19 2020). "Chronicling Black Resistance to Disaster." MIT News. (June 24 2020). "Andrea Roberts is Working to Define What Free Black Space Is." The Texas Observer. (July 23 2020). "The City Planners' Case for Defunding the Police." Bloomberg CityLab. (August 6 2020).

Reading List Publications Juneteenth Reading List (June 2020) Social Justice & Inclusion in Historic Preservation: A Bibliography (July 2020) Texas Freedom Colonies: A Bibliography (July 2020)

Academic Publication Roberts, A.R. (2020). Preservation without Representation: Making CLG Programs Vehicles for Inclusive Leadership, Historic Preservation, and Engagement. Societies, 10(3), 60.

Reclaiming Spaces and Places Dr. Roberts was a part of the "Reclaiming Spaces and Places" Session during the annual grassroots (un)conference with Next City and BlackSpace. The theme for 2020's virtual conference was "reclaiming" and its goal was to "position BIPOC urbanists, designers, and activists as defiant catalysts for liberation and equity." (Next City 2020). You can view the video of Dr. Roberts' session HERE. Did we miss something? If you mentioned us in an article, post, or video, please let us know so we can add it to our list of media mentions!

Project Goals

Recording and safeguarding stories and materials associated with freedom colonies' origins and decline. Hosting and maintaining an interactive, publicly accessible Atlas and Database of freedom colony locations including GIS layers indicating development and ecological threats. Identifying resources for and codeveloping community resilience strategies and policies with freedom colonies descendants using the contents of the Atlas and Database. | |

Take Action! What is the Texas Freedom Colonies Project? The Texas Freedom Colonies Project is an educational, social justice initiative dedicated to preserving the heritage of Texas' historic African American settlements, and the planners and preservationists that made them possible. We are researchers who map disappearing places and cocreate resilience strategies with endangered communities. How can you help us?

Send us information about your events, FB pages or websites!


Submit a Story Submit a freedom colony or memory by accessing our surveys either on paper or online here. Use the "Share your story" tab on the Atlas to access the survey where you can input your story, information, photos, videos, and locations. For assistance, contact us at or watch our instructional YouTube here. Spread the Word Follow us on all our social media channel and share our information with friends, family, and colleagues. Join our Advisory Board The board is a group of volunteers with expertise that can help descendants and the Project do its work. You must send a resume and 2-3 paragraphs explaining why you think you should be considered. Want to use our logo or our research? If you are an affiliate site or project and would like to use our Atlas, its images, or our logo - please contact us for permission or cite us. Fill out a request form Due to the large volume of requests we receive, we have created a form in which you can ask to form a partnership with the project, learn about our activities, or volunteer. You can access the Google Form here.

You can now send us donations electronically through the Texas A&M Foundation portal! Scan the QR code above or click on the link! Newsletter Edited by Grace Kelly, Program Aide | |

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The Texas Freedom Colonies Project Summer 2020 Newsletter  

The Texas Freedom Colonies Project Summer 2020 Newsletter

The Texas Freedom Colonies Project Summer 2020 Newsletter  

The Texas Freedom Colonies Project Summer 2020 Newsletter

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