A Southern Family in White and Black: The Cuneys of Texas by Douglas Hales

By Douglas Hales

The advanced problems with race and politics in nineteenth-century Texas might be nowhere extra dramatically embodied than in 3 generations of the family members of Norris Wright Cuney, mulatto exertions and political chief. Douglas Hales explores the birthright Cuney got from his white plantation-owner father, Philip Cuney, and how his background performed out within the lifetime of his daughter Maud Cuney-Hare. This intergenerational examine casts mild at the adventure of race within the South sooner than Emancipation, after Reconstruction, and within the diaspora that at last led cultural leaders of African American history into the towns of the North.

Most Texas background books identify Norris Wright Cuney as probably the most influential African American politicians in nineteenth-century Texas, yet they inform little approximately him past his elected positions. In The Cuneys, Douglas Hales not just fills within the information of Cuney’s existence and contributions yet areas him within the context of his family’s generations.

A politically energetic plantation proprietor and slaveholder in Austin County, Philip Cuney participated within the annexation of Texas to the us and supported the position of slavery and cotton within the constructing economic climate of the recent kingdom. filthy rich and robust, he fathered 8 slave young ones whom he later freed and observed expert. Hales explores how and why Cuney differed from different planters of his time and place.

He then turns to the better-known Norris Wright Cuney to check how the black elite labored for political and financial chance within the reactionary interval that Reconstruction within the South. Cuney led the Texas Republican get together in these turbulent years and, via his place as number of customs at Galveston, disbursed federal patronage to either white and black Texans. because the strongest African American in Texas, and arguably within the whole South, Cuney turned the point of interest of white hostility, from either Democrats and participants of the “Lily White” faction of his personal social gathering. His powerful management gained not just persisted workplace for him but in addition a place of strength in the Republican get together for Texas blacks at a time while the celebration of Lincoln repudiated African american citizens in lots of different Southern states. From his place at the Galveston urban Council, Cuney labored tirelessly for African American schooling and challenged the domination of white exertions in the turning out to be unions.

Norris Wright Cuney’s daughter, Maud, who used to be graced with a prestigious schooling, pursued a profitable profession within the arts as a live performance pianist, musicologist, and playwright. a chum of W. E. B. Du Bois, she turned actively enthusiastic about the racial uplift stream of the early 20th century. Hales illuminates her function within the highbrow and political “awakening” of black the USA that culminated within the Harlem Renaissance of the Twenties. He adroitly explores her choice opposed to “passing” as white and her dedication to uplift.

Through those 3 individuals of a unmarried mixed-race family members, Douglas Hales supplies perception into the problems, demanding situations, and strengths of people. His paintings provides an immense bankruptcy to the historical past of Texas and of African american citizens extra broadly.

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Extra resources for A Southern Family in White and Black: The Cuneys of Texas

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McAlpine obtained the mayoral nomination. ” His strategy was to make race the main issue, linking Fulton and Cuney together. He urged voters to support the entire Citizen’s ticket except for Cuney, whom they sacrificed in support of his opponent on the People’s ticket, C. J. ” Race had been an issue in previous elections, but in the past the opposition never made it the only issue. In such an environment, Cuney lost much of his white support. On election day, whites kept blacks from voting in several wards, especially in the Sixth, where violence took place.

Thus, the battle in education became a fight for at least a semblance of equal facilities. For Cuney, African American education and creation of eleemosynary institutions for blacks became a consistent theme. He became deeply involved in education beginning in , when Gov. Edmund Davis appointed him to the newly formed Galveston School Board. In  E. M. Wheelock, former head of Freedmen’s Bureau schools in Texas, developed a plan for creating public schools headed by a state board of education and dividing Texas into school districts controlled by local school boards.

2 Ruby proved to be an able debater and political organizer, demonstrating “responsibility and moderation” throughout his career. Along with James Newcomb and others, he helped establish the Texas Loyal Union League. The league, organized as a patriotic club in the North during the Civil War, expanded to the former Confederate states after the conflict.

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