Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. i-iv

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. v-vi

read more

About the Revised Edition

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-viii

During the years since Through Many Dangers, Toils, and Snares was published in 1985, an abundance of scholarship on Reconstruction and Post Reconstruction in Texas has appeared and enriched our knowledge about African Americans in general and black politicians in particular. As such, the number of articles, related studies, entries in the Handbook of Texas, and round table discussions about these politicians has increased significantly over the years. So has public awareness. For example, some members of the Texas A&M faculty have entertained the idea of erecting a statue in honor of Matthew Gaines while other groups have requested that some or all black legislators be included in a statue to be erected on...

read more

Foreword

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-x

When I first read and reviewed Dr. Merline Pitre's excellent study of black leaders in Texas in the late nineteenth century after its publication in 1985, I was unaware that no full-length study of the state's black leaders in this period had been done since J. Mason Brewer's popular study of black Texas legislators published in 1935.1 soon learned, however, that Dr. Pitre's study was the first comprehensive attempt to interpret and analyze the state's black leadership within the times in which they lived. Moreover, her study was groundbreaking because it challenged the traditional scholarship on the state's post-Civil War black leadership that usually lumped all of them together as "ignorant and dishonest negroes," who knew nothing about self-government and the administration of state affairs....

read more

Preface

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xi-xii

The purpose of this study is twofold: to examine the role of the black political leadership cadre in Texas, 1868-1900, and to fill a void in the history of Afro-Texans. This work explores the complexities and contradictions that led to the emergence of black legislators in Texas; examines the nature and degree of these lawmakers' influence upon their constituents, as well as upon their white colleagues; analyzes whether or not blacks shared in the overthrow of Reconstruction; seeks to find out if the black leadership formulated or manifested a clear unifying ideology; and attempts to respond to the suggestion of W E. B. DuBois, that "there is a need to establish what blacks wanted, did and achieved." This study follows the path of recent scholars who have paid close attention to...

read more

Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xiii-xviii

In 1895 Booker T. Washington wrote: "One of the surprising results of the Reconstruction period was that there should spring from among the members of a race that have been held so long in slavery, so large a number of shrewd, resolute, resourceful and even brilliant men who became during this brief period of storm and stress the political leaders of the newly enfranchised race." This statement is especially true of the black lawmakers of Texas....

Part One: The Toils: The Making of Biographical Profiles

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xix-xx

read more

1. The Constitutional Convention of 1868-1869

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-17

The blacks of Texas, like those in many other Southern states, did not take an active part in politics until the passage of the Reconstruction Acts of 1867. These acts, which declared all previous actions of the state null and void and called for the drafting of a new constitution, made it possible for blacks to become actors rather than merely objects in Texas politics. It soon became clear to the freedmen that these acts of Congress only opened the doors to voting and office holding; if they wanted to effectuate any change in the system, they themselves would have to take the initiative. So, in keeping with their idea of making political rights a reality, blacks went to the polls in Texas, February 10, 1868, and not only cast 35,952 votes in favor of a constitutional convention but also elected ten blacks to serve as constitutional delegates....

read more

2. The Reconstruction Legislature

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 18-36

The election held on November 30, 1869, after the ratification of the Texas Constitution, elevated blacks to public office for the first time in Texas history. Whites, not yet recovered from having blacks assist in the framing of the constitution, now had to turn their attention to the legislature where twelve blacks were elected to the House and two to the Senate. Whites seemed not to be concerned with the fact that blacks were in the minority in both houses or that they would continue to be. What concerned them most was the false perception that the bottom rail had reached the top. To be sure, the bottom rail had not reached the top, but it had moved up....

read more

3. Blacks at the Crossroad 1872-1875

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 37-54

Conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, who in 1870 formed a political alliance to wrest control of the state from the "undesirable" radical and black forces, achieved their objectives in 1871 and 1872. In the election of 1871, "Radical Reconstruction" for all practical purposes came to an end. Notwithstanding the campaign efforts of the Republicans, Democrats captured all four of the congressional seats and both houses of the state legislature. Blacks lost ground in the number of elected state officials, as well as in the territories represented. While the two black senators, Ruby and Gaines, returned to the Senate to finish their terms, only eight blacks secured seats in the House in the Thirteenth Legislature. The...

read more

4. The Post-Reconstruction Legislatures

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 55-88

Although some parts of Texas were redeemed by force as early as 1867, others by the elections of 1872 and 1873, and still others with the drafting of the Constitution of 1875, this was not the case in the Black Belt counties. By virtue of their numerical strength, blacks exercised political control and were consistently elected to the state legislature from 1876 to 1896. Contrary to published reports that the Twentieth Legislature was all-white, two blacks sat in that august body. Altogether, two senators and seventeen representatives sat at various times in the legislature during post-Reconstruction. With the exception of the Sixteenth Legislature, which...

Part Two: The Snares: White Over Black in Party Conventions

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 89-90

read more

5. A Thorn in the Side

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 91-107

Attempts were made by prewar Unionists to establish a Republican Party in Texas soon after the Reconstruction Acts were imposed upon the South. In this regard, the Union League played an instrumental role. This secret organization, which urged blacks to remain loyal to the Union and instructed them on their political rights, was first introduced into Texas by Judge James H. Bell in March 1867. Shortly after the inception of the Union League, a number of meetings were held between blacks and whites to discuss the political situation of the state. Thus, on April 27, 1867, Union men held a meeting in Austin to formulate plans for holding a state convention in July to establish a party which would embrace the...

read more

6. Miscalculation or Manipulation

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 108-126

Professor Alwyn Barr writes that "in the last quarter of the Nineteenth Century, the Republican Party in Texas resembled an iceberg in a Democratic ocean, continuously in existence, [but] often in turmoil beneath the surface." 1 Concurring with Barr, one can argue that part of this turmoil stemmed from the fact that blacks were determined to be treated as co-partners in the Republican coalition. The first evidence of this came at the Republican state convention which met in Brenham, on May 25, 1875. Not only did blacks prevent federal officeholders from wresting control of the party, but it was largely due to the support of blacks that the organization continued under the control of...

read more

7. Fusion or Fission

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 127-140

Depending upon the forces and circumstances, fusion politics can take on several meanings. For Texas Republicans in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, it was a strategy employed to regain control of the state. After being reduced to minority status in 1874, leaders of the Grand Old Party turned to the game of practical politics by fusing with various third parties or supporting Independent candidates to overthrow the Bourbon regime. For some blacks, fusion politics, based upon the arithmetic of political bargaining, was another way of getting elected to state office. To wit, they availed themselves of the first opportunity which presented itself, that is, the Greenback Party....

Part Three: The Danger: Methods of Removal

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 141-142

read more

8. Rejection, Reduction, Retrenchment

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 143-166

"The Election is now going on. Sambo and the white man voting together but Texas will yet be a white man's state." So wrote W H. C. Davenport December 2, 1869.
To many white Democrats who had fought for the Confederacy, the election of blacks to state and local offices was painful. In order to alleviate the pain, immediately after the election of 1869, white Conservatives set out to redeem the state. That blacks continued to be elected to state and local offices after the state was redeemed was all the more galling to these whites. So, in order to fulfill the above prophecy that "Texas [would] yet be white...

Part Four: The Personalities: Neither All Good Nor All Bad

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 167

read more

A Preview

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 168

From the time that Union Gen. Gordon Granger proclaimed on June 19, 1865, that black Texans were free, until 1898, when the last black left the Texas Legislature, myriad crosscurrents swept black social thought, ranging from militancy to accommodation. Such diverse proposals as integration, separation, terror, self-help, and black-white unity have at one time or another been advanced by various black leaders. While there were no simple patterns to the thinking of these individuals, their basic aim was the achievement of social, political, and economic equality for black people. Still the intricacies of adjustment and compromise often diverted many from their ultimate goal. The student of leadership in black life...

read more

9. Matthew Gaines: The Militant

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 169-187

It is often argued that great crises produce great men and women, and conversely, great men and women bring about great crises. It goes without saying that it is difficult to establish the truth of either of these propositions to the exclusion of the other, inasmuch as the forces that operate and cooperate in each are factors of a common product. Matthew Gaines fits well into this category. Daring, keen of mind, courageous and firm in the principle of equality for all men without regard to race or color, Gaines was an outstanding leader of Reconstruction and stood out among his white colleagues like a sore thumb. He was by far the most vigilant...

read more

10. George T. Ruby: The Party Loyalist

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 188-197

In a period during which black legislators were unmercifully scrutinized for shortcomings, George T. Ruby won the admiration of many of his party colleagues and even some Democrats. His personal qualities of tact and diplomacy, plus his education, tended to soften the reactions of his political opponents. Dapper in dress, Ruby made Conservatives uncomfortable when he took a white woman for his bride,1 and refused to be passive in politics. On the other hand, Ruby flattered radical Republicans as he supported and spoke out in favor of their program. At the same time, he angered blacks as he catered more to his white constituents. Ruby's actions in such cases had a great deal to do with his unquestionable loyalty to the Republican Party....

read more

11. Richard Allen: The Opportunist

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 198-202

It cannot be overemphasized that the prevailing vocalized expression of black thought in the postwar years was characterized by a broad program for the advancement of the race based upon an equalitarian approach. The franchise, education, civil rights legislation, the acquisition of property and wealth, and the cultivation of morality were all elements that were designed to achieve integration into American society. In trying to accomplish these goals, it was not uncommon to find contradictions among black leaders that often bordered on opportunism. One such victim of this fate was Richard Allen. Allen used every possible means — individuals,...

read more

12. Robert Lloyd Smith: The Accommodationist

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 203-213

When Robert Lloyd Smith came to Texas in 1885, the country and indeed the South were undergoing the transition from a broad egalitarian approach of the Reconstruction period to the more narrow emphasis upon wealth and frugal virtues. This was also a time during which the political outlook of blacks was changing and took a number of different forms. Many individuals argued that if the Republican Party was indifferent to blacks, then blacks should support and form other parties. Some argued that if black political avenues were closed, then economic and social development would be pursued. Still others said that if whites believed blacks to be inferior, then blacks must prove themselves equal to whites. As a result...

read more

13. Norris Wright Cuney: The Climber of Sorts

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 214-224

Norris Wright Cuney has been described by one writer as one of "the greatest political leaders of Texas." During his long and distinguished career, Cuney combined charismatic qualities with effective use of politicking to propel himself into the center of Texas Republican politics from 1870 to 1896. His rise through the party ranks was described best by his biographer when she wrote:...

read more

Postscript

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 225-230

For over a century, the first black political leaders of Texas have been under a cloud. Today, research has revealed that despite their slave birth, their inexperience, their general lack of educational opportunities and white prejudice, they made a credible record. Black elected state officials were men of varying backgrounds, abilities, and attitudes. Some were remarkable natural leaders; others, diffident and inexperienced, were dull and uninspiring. Still others initiated measures and debated actively and intelligently, showing themselves capable of defending themselves and their race against disparagement by white members....

Appendix A: Roster of Black Legislators of Texas

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 231-234

Appendix B: Roster of Black Legislators' Committee Assignments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 235-238

Appendix C: Black Legislators Who Were Delegates at Republican National Conventions

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 239

Appendix D: Summary of Background of Texas Black Politicians, 1868-1900

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 240-244

Appendix E: Twentieth Century Black Legislators

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 245-246

Appendix F: Roster of Twentieth Century Black Legislators

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 247-256

Appendix G: A Thirty Year Comparison of 19th and 20th Century Legislators

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 257

Appendix H: Correspondence of a Black Lawmaker

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 258-260

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 261-289

Bibliography

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 290-299

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 300-304