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 information of Cuney’s existence and contributions yet locations him within the context of his family’s generations.
A politically lively 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 economic system of the recent kingdom. prosperous and robust, he fathered 8 slave young ones whom he later freed and observed trained. 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 financial chance within the reactionary interval that Reconstruction within the South. Cuney led the Texas Republican social gathering 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 complete South, Cuney grew to become the focus of white hostility, from either Democrats and individuals of the Lily White” faction of his personal social gathering. His powerful management received not just persisted place of work for him but additionally a place of energy in the Republican social gathering 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 profession within the arts as a live performance pianist, musicologist, and playwright. a chum of W. E. B. Du Bois, she turned actively excited about the racial uplift move of the early 20th century. Hales illuminates her position within the highbrow and political awakening” of black the USA that culminated within the Harlem Renaissance of the Nineteen Twenties. He adroitly explores her selection opposed to passing” as white and her dedication to uplift.
Through those 3 contributors of a unmarried mixed-race kin, Douglas Hales provides perception into the problems, demanding situations, and strengths of people. His paintings provides a huge bankruptcy to the heritage of Texas and of African american citizens extra broadly.
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Additional resources for A Southern Family in White and Black: The Cuneys of Texas
He charged the committee with corruption after ﬁnding that not only did the city pay too much but also paid for , pounds more than they received. Further, his investigation showed that the contractor was an employee of the city engineer. 34 Cuney’s actions, though laudable, had a negative outcome. Other aldermen apparently felt quite comfortable with corruption and made Cuney pay for upsetting the applecart. He served with three aldermen and three citizens on the Charter Committee established by the mayor but found himself in the minority time and again during deliberations.
Cuney contested the outcome. A subsequent investigation established that fraud did take place. In the Eleventh Ward, where he received only twenty-one votes, ninety-seven citizens testiﬁed as voting for Cuney, including A. H. Willie, chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court. Overall, the council found over three hundred destroyed or substituted ballots and swore Cuney into oﬃce. 38 In his second term, Cuney became involved in another controversy over modernizing the city.
In the Eleventh Ward, where he received only twenty-one votes, ninety-seven citizens testiﬁed as voting for Cuney, including A. H. Willie, chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court. Overall, the council found over three hundred destroyed or substituted ballots and swore Cuney into oﬃce. 38 In his second term, Cuney became involved in another controversy over modernizing the city. 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 .
A Southern Family in White and Black: The Cuneys of Texas by Douglas Hales