By Douglas Hales
Most Texas heritage books identify Norris Wright Cuney as 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 info 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 USA and supported the position of slavery and cotton within the constructing financial system of the hot country. filthy rich and robust, he fathered 8 slave young ones whom he later freed and observed proficient. 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 review how the black elite labored for political and fiscal chance within the reactionary interval that Reconstruction within the South. Cuney led the Texas Republican celebration in these turbulent years and, via his place as number of customs at Galveston, allotted federal patronage to either white and black Texans. because the strongest African American in Texas, and arguably within the whole South, Cuney grew to become the point of interest of white hostility, from either Democrats and contributors of the Lily White” faction of his personal occasion. His potent management received not just endured workplace for him but in addition a place of strength in the Republican celebration for Texas blacks at a time whilst 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 hard work in the becoming unions.
Norris Wright Cuney’s daughter, Maud, who used to be graced with a prestigious schooling, pursued a profitable occupation within the arts as a live performance pianist, musicologist, and playwright. a pal of W. E. B. Du Bois, she grew to become actively enthusiastic about the racial uplift circulation 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 determination opposed to passing” as white and her dedication to uplift.
Through those 3 contributors of a unmarried mixed-race relatives, Douglas Hales provides perception into the problems, demanding situations, and strengths of people. His paintings provides a big 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
New inventions interested him. One such device, the telephone, came to Galveston in the late s, and a Galveston-to-Houston telephone exchange began service in . Cuney was one of the ﬁrst to use the telephone in to talk to a fellow Republican in Houston. Another invention that Cuney took an interest in, the electric light, had possibilities for improving downtown Galveston. He became impressed with electric lights in , when Brush Electric Company opened for business and lit up th Street.
In a transparent move to end the inﬂuence of Cuney and black voters on the council, committee members voted to change the way aldermen obtained election. In a ﬁve-to-one vote, they proposed election of aldermen by the entire city rather than by individual wards, which if adopted would eﬀectively eliminate black representation. Cuney countered with a proposal before the council as a whole that would instead elect six aldermen by wards, including the Twelfth, and six from the city at large. After a heated debate, the council voted against even considering the Cuney motion.
The deputy chief of police and a detachment of oﬃcers followed the strikers close behind. 15 The ﬁrst day of the strike ended with several speeches and a meeting conducted by a white Irish immigrant, Michael Burns. a day. Tensions rose the following day with news that police had wounded a black man named Beauregard and arrested several strikers. Following these incidents, other whites met at Artillery Hall and formed several “citizen-soldier” companies. Strikers began to notice a marked increase of whites carrying guns.
A Southern Family in White and Black: The Cuneys of Texas by Douglas Hales