African-American History Resources: From Slavery to Juneteenth

Black and white photo of Avenue L Baptist Church, Galveston, Texas. African-American History Resources: From Slavery to Juneteenth
Avenue L Baptist Church. In 1840—just one year after the City of Galveston was officially incorporated—members of the all-white First Baptist Church established a separate congregation for slaves. Later called the Colored Baptist Church, this congregation eventually erected its own building at Avenue L and 26th Street. G_8428_FF002_004, Galveston Photographic Subject Files: Religion. Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Texas.

The Galveston and Texas History Center has many resources you can use to research African American life in Galveston up to Juneteenth (1865):

Slave Deeds and Bills of Sale

Manuscript collections containing deeds, bills of sale, manumission papers, and other documents regarding the enslavement of African-Americans. These collections may be searched in the Archives Catalog.

C. E. Richardson Slave Bill Certification, MS21-0063.

    Certification of the sale of Reuben, an enslaved Black man, to J. Brauns. Dated and sealed February 3, 1859, Freestone County, Texas. Viewable online in the Archives Catalog.

    Trueheart family papers, MS22-0023.

      Collection of papers from Trueheart family members, including brothers Henry Martyn and Charles W. Trueheart. Slave deeds are included in the "Hendley Family papers" subgroup (Box 1, File 4).

      William Hendley and Company Records, MS22-0153.

        Business papers documenting trade that William Hendley and Company did in Galveston and the interior of Texas. Included is a receipt for the purchase of an enslaved Black man (22-0162, Box 1, File 10).

        Samuel May Williams papers, MS23-0002.

          Letters and drafts of letters, bills and receipts, promissory notes, and memoranda created or collected by Samuel May Williams. MSS 23-1669 and 23-1670 contain documents regarding the release of Cary, a Black man enslaved by Thomas F. McKinney in Galveston.

          Isaac Franklin Slave Deed, MS26-0367.

            Deed of sale from Isaac Franklin of Sumner County, Tennessee, conveying Kitty Seawell, an enslaved Black woman, to Dr. J. C. Patrick of Wilkerson County, Mississippi. Viewable online in the Archives Catalog.

            John L. Darragh papers, MS27-0013.

              Documents of slave transactions in Galveston involving John L. Darragh, including a receipt of $2,200 for the purchase of four enslaved African-Americans from Mitchel Heflin, and a bill of sale for $575 for one enslaved Black male from W. S. R. Austin. Viewable online in the Archives Catalog.

              A. J. A. Gayles Slave Bill of Sale, MS28-0046.

                Bill of sale from A. J. A. Gayles of Liberty County, Texas, conveying Vina, an enslaved Black woman, to J.L. Briggs of Galveston. Viewable online in the Archives Catalog.

                Slave Deeds Collection, MS28-0047.

                  A collection of deeds relating to the sales of enslaved African-Americans in San Antonio and Austin, Texas. Viewable online in the Archives Catalog.

                  John W. Lockhart papers, MS30-0197.

                    Collection of correspondence between Lockhart and his family members, as well as business partners. Includes receipts, titles, and deeds for the purchases and sales of enslaved African-Americans in Box 4, Files 1-17.

                    Isham Thompson Papers, MS30-0850.

                    Business and estate papers of Isham Thompson, including slave deeds in Box 1, Files 1 and 9.

                    James Morgan papers, MS31-0001.

                      Papers of Colonel James Morgan, including documents regarding slave purchases and indentures in Box 2, Files 28-29.

                      W. B. McClellan Slave Deed, MS38-0001.

                        A copy of a deed from W. B. McClellan of Washington County, Texas giving an enslaved 12-year old Black girl named Milla to his daughter Susan E. McCane and her heirs.

                        R. I. Thames Slave Deed, MS44-0006.

                          A deed of sale of two enslaved Black males--Billy and Green--from Charles Alexander of Louisiana to R. I. Thames.

                          George W. Grover Papers, MS51-0004.

                            Correspondence and business papers of George W. Grover, including deeds of slave purchases in Box 1, Files 28-29.

                            Memucan Hunt, Jr. papers, MS70-0510.

                              Papers of Memucan Hunt, Jr., including many items of correspondence and legal agreements regarding enslaved African Americans, as well as slave deeds of purchase.

                              Henry Howell Williams papers, MS73-0055.

                                Personal and business papers of Henry Howell Williams, including many documents regarding slavery, such as lists of enslaved African-Americans, receipts, and slave deeds.

                                Blandin/Hudson Family Papers, MS88-0003.

                                  Papers of the Blandin and Hudson families, primarily William Moore Hudson. Includes a slave deed in Box 1, File 39.

                                  Charles B. Sojourner Slave Deed of Trust, MS97-0006.

                                    Deed of trust to sell two enslaved Black males--Oliver and Calvin--from Charles B. Sojourner to Nathaniel A. Ware in Galveston County, Texas.

                                    John and George Dean Slave Deed, MS2002-0014.

                                    Deed of sale from John Dean of Galveston and George Dean of Montgomery, Texas, conveying an enslaved Black woman named Nieg, about 25 or 27 years old, to Joshua English of Montgomery, Texas.

                                    Texas Historical Documents, MS2014-0003.

                                      Includes several documents relating to slave sales and litigation. Viewable online in the Archives Catalog.

                                      Gustave Gerson receipt book, MS2018-0045.

                                        Contains receipts for the hiring of a "Negro servant."

                                        Julius Kauffman slave bill of sale, MS2018-0052.

                                          A bill of sale for three enslaved African Americans in Galveston--Louise, Kim, and a 6-month old infant--sold by Julius Kauffman. Viewable online in the Archives Catalog.

                                          Slave Manifests

                                          Manuscript collections of manifests containing the names of enslaved African Americans on board ships bound from New Orleans to Galveston. These collections may be searched in the Archives Catalog.

                                          Manifest of Slaves (Steamship Galveston), MS26-0369.

                                            Manifest of 8 enslaved African Americans, ages 3 to 45, on board the steamship Galveston (John R. Cram, master). Viewable online in the Archives Catalog.

                                            Manifest of Slaves (Steamship Texas), MS98-0008.

                                              Manifest of 63 enslaved African Americans, ages 3 to 78, on board the steamship Texas (H. Wilson, master).

                                              Government Documents

                                              Manuscript collections of documents from state and federal governments concerning slavery. These collections may be searched in the Archives Catalog.

                                              Texas Secession Convention Broadside, MS36-0001.

                                              Broadside titled "Declaration of the Causes Which Impel the State of Texas to Secede from the Federal Union; also the Ordinance of Secession," highlighting the importance of slavery in Texas as one of the “causes.”

                                              Treaty Between Her Majesty and the Republick of Texas, MS09-0001.

                                                Treaty between Great Britain and the Republic of Texas concerning the suppression of the African Slave Trade.

                                                Congressional Speeches Collection, MS73-0383.

                                                Bound volume of House and Senate speeches concerning the compromise of 1850, slavery in the territories, and secession, among other topics.

                                                United States. Department of State Slave Trade Documents, MS81-0017.

                                                  Extracts from the U.S. Departments of State, Treasury, and the Navy discussing the illegal importation of enslaved Africans in the U.S.

                                                  Publications and Writings

                                                  Manuscript collections of publications and writings concerning the history of slavery in Texas and the U.S. These collections may be searched in the Archives Catalog.

                                                  Nashville Patriot Article on Secession, MS22-0037.

                                                  Article from the Nashville Patriot titled "The Conspiracy to Break Up the Union. The Plot and Its Development," discussing the history of secession in the United States during the early 19th century and the conflict over slavery in the Southern States.

                                                  Ben C. Stuart Papers, MS29-0028.

                                                  Collection of Stuart's writings and a scrapbook on various topics of Texas history, including the history of slave ships and the African slave trade.

                                                  John Bell papers, MS31-1247.

                                                  Publication titled “John Bell's Record. A full exposition of Mr. Bell's course on the Slavery question...,” and a speech given by James H. Hammond to the U.S. Senate on May 21, 1860, on "the relation of states."

                                                  Sam Houston papers, MS45-0019.

                                                  Speech given by Sam Houston at a Union mass meeting in Austin, Texas on September 22, 1860, concerning the importance of preserving the Union, the danger of civil war in the United States, and abolition of slavery.

                                                  The North and the South (New York Tribune), MS65-0015.

                                                    Article from the New York Tribune chronicling the conflict between the Northern States and Southern States over slavery in the United States.

                                                    The Quarterly Anti-Slavery Magazine, MS71-0227.

                                                      Magazine published by the American Anti-Slavery Society, featuring an article titled "Texas," by David Lee Child, Esq., on pp. 193-205 regarding the effect of slavery on Texas' desire to win freedom from Mexico.

                                                      The Slave’s Friend, MS84-0012.

                                                        Magazine published for children by the American Anti-Slavery Society, containing a short Q&A piece titled "Texas," about the effect of slavery on Texas' desire to win independence from Mexico. Viewable online in the Archives Catalog.

                                                        Church Records

                                                        Manuscript collections containing correspondence to Baptist churches regarding slavery. These collections may be searched in the Archives Catalog.

                                                        F. E. McCoy papers, MS41-0002.

                                                          Papers containing correspondence regarding lynchings in Galveston, treatment of enslaved African-Americans, and attitudes on slavery, among other topics.

                                                          Avenue L Baptist Church Records, MS83-0046.

                                                            Records of Texas’ first African-American Baptist church, including letters of dismission, recommendations of enslaved African-Americans for membership to the church from their slaveholders and other churches.


                                                            Books, manuscript and photograph collections about Juneteenth, or Emancipation Day for African-Americans who learned of their freedom from slavery on June 19, 1865, in Galveston. These materials may be searched in the Archives Catalog.

                                                            Juneteenth Celebration Collection, MS91-0008.

                                                              Letters, programs, writings, and other printed materials relating to the 1991 Juneteenth celebration in Galveston, sponsored by St. Vincent's House.

                                                              Alfreda Houston Papers, MS2001-0008.

                                                                Contains programs, bulletins, and other printed materials for various Juneteenth programs in Galveston in Box 1, File 13.

                                                                Susanne King Collection, Special Collections #58

                                                                  Includes photos of activities in Galveston’s Black community, including Juneteenth photos in File 29.

                                                                  Juneteenth 1989 Celebration photographs, Special Collections #123

                                                                    Photos taken by former Rosenberg Library employee Julia Dunn of the Juneteenth celebration on June 19, 1989.

                                                                    Juneteenth 1991 Celebration photographs, Special Collections #141

                                                                      Photos taken of the Juneteenth celebration parade on June 19, 1991.

                                                                      St. Vincent's Episcopal House Collection, Special Collections #177

                                                                        Contains more photographs of Juneteenth celebrations in Galveston.

                                                                        Juneteenth Legacy Project Album, Special Collections #292

                                                                        Photograph album book containing images of the 2021 Juneteenth celebration in Galveston, Texas, and the Juneteenth mural "Absolute Equality," created by artist Reginald C. Adams, at the corner of 22nd Street and the Strand.

                                                                        Juneteenth: the Story Behind the Celebration. Cotham, Edward T. E 185.93 .T4 2021.

                                                                        On Juneteenth, Annette Gordon-Reed. E 185.93 .T4 G67 2021.

                                                                          Juneteenth 101: Popular Myths and Forgotten Facts. Norman-Cox, D. J. E 185.93 .T4 N676 2020.

                                                                          "Juneteenth" Vertical File

                                                                            Files containing newspaper clippings, brochures, and other printed documents relating to the history of Juneteenth and Juneteenth celebrations in Galveston.

                                                                            Plaque Awarded to Alfreda Houston

                                                                            Juneteenth Chairman Award plaque presented to Alfreda Houston, 1985.


                                                                              Books containing information on slavery in Galveston and Texas. Books may be searched in the Rosenberg Library Catalog.

                                                                              Other Resources

                                                                              Galveston City Directory, 1859-60.

                                                                              Translations of statistical and census reports of Texas, 1782-1836, and sources documenting the Black in Texas, 1603-1803. GTHC Microfilm Cabinet.

                                                                              • Contains demographic, statistical, and qualitative data on African Americans living in Texas before the arrival of the Europeans.

                                                                              Rosenberg Library Museum Objects

                                                                              1. Museum Object A wooden shuttle from 1861 used by an enslaved Black woman named Eveline to weave cloth
                                                                              2. Museum Object 85.042.11: A sock made from cotton grown on the plantation of Dr. J.W. Lockhart in 1849.

                                                                              Vertical File Collection

                                                                              • Files containing writings, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, and other printed materials relating to various topics of African-American History, from slavery to present day.

                                                                              Online Resources


                                                                              • Available on Rosenberg Library’s E-Library website: under “Articles, News, & Magazines” section.
                                                                              • Free if used on-site or remotely with library card.
                                                                              • Can be used to search for articles regarding slavery in Texas, abolition, and Juneteenth in Galveston.

                                                                              The Portal to Texas History (

                                                                              Digital library that provides access to rare, historical, and primary source materials from or about Texas, including materials about slavery in Texas.

                                                                              Black Freedom Struggle in the United States

                                                                              Presented by ProQuest, this database features documents related to critical people and events in African American history.

                                                                              African American Heritage: History and Genealogy

                                                                              Learn more about your heritage and genealogy with ProQuest: African American Heritage.

                                                                              The African American Story-Bullock Texas State History Museum

                                                                              Contains information about the history of African Americans in Texas from Spanish colonial rule to present day.

                                                                              A Guide to the Works Progress Administration Records: Slave Narratives (Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin)

                                                                              Includes narratives from African Americans living in Galveston County, among other counties.

                                                                              Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936 to 1938 (Library of Congress)

                                                                              Contains first-person accounts and photographs of formerly enslaved African-Americans, including those who lived in Texas.

                                                                              A Guide to the Texas Slave Laws Collection, 1853-1856 (Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin)

                                                                              A typescript compilation of newspaper articles relating to slavery in Texas which comprises the Texas Slave Laws, 1853-1856.

                                                                              Slaves and Slavery Resources (Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin)

                                                                              Research guide featuring publication, archival materials, photographic collections, and other resources.

                                                                              The Internet Archive

                                                                              Search terms: "Texas Slavery"

                                                                              Updated 2023-06-10 KK