Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Biographical / Historical

Content Description

Restrictions

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Series I: Background

Series II: Correspondence

Series III: Resolutions and Awards

Series IV: Newsclippings

Series V: Published reports

Series VI: Photographs

Series VII: Video of public testimony regarding bond election 2006-2013

Series VIII: Community events, publicity and speaking 2013-2017

Series IX: Community events, publicity, speaking regarding discovery of prisoners' bodies, 2018

Series X: Additional Sugar Land and Fort Bend County background

Woodson Research Center, Rice University

Guide to the Reginald Moore Sugar Land Convict Leasing System research collection, 1878-2018 MS 636



source Moore, Reginald
Title: Reginald Moore Sugar Land Convict Leasing System research collection
Dates: 1878-2018
Identification: MS 636
Quantity: 2.5 Linear Feet5 boxes
Quantity: 0.65 Gigabytes7 video files of Public Comment portions Sugar Land City Council meetings
Language: English
Repository: Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas

Biographical / Historical

Reginald Moore, of Sugar Land, Texas, has created or maintained this collection of material as part of his work with the Texas Slave Descendants Society. Mr. Moore is an historian and has a certification in Community Economic Development from the College of Biblical Studies. He is also a community activist, and has a particular interest in prison reform and prison re-entry into society. He served as a correctional officer in the Texas Department of Corrections, 1985-1988. Mr. Moore worked in the Beauford H. Jester I and III Units, a prison farm located in unincorporated Fort Bend County, Texas. Jester I Farm was the first built by the state at this site, and was known as the Old Harlem Farm. Although convict leasing as a practice is believed to have begun informally in 1872, the State of Texas sanctioned the contract to lease the penal system to the private firm of Ed H. Cunningham and L.A. Ellis (Cunningham and Ellis) in 1878. In 1883, the land and system reverted from private to state control. While working at this site, Mr. Moore became interested in the history of the Flanagan House (former warden's house) and then in the Central Unit of the prison. Over time, this interest grew and became a major research area for Mr. Moore, who went on to found and chair the Texas Slave Descendants' Society(TSDS) in the early 2000's. Through the TSDS and on his own, Mr. Moore, has worked to gain recognition for the past abuses associated with Sugar Land's convict leasing system. In 2016, the Texas Slave Descendants Society hosted its annual Labor Day program and honored Dr. Ken Brown (University of Houston) with the Emancipator Award for his archaeological work and advocacy in Sugar Land. Dr. Fred McGhee was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award. In the previous year, Dr. Lora Wildenthal (Rice University) was honored with the Emancipator Award for leading her students in highlighting Mr. Moore's work through the Houston Area Research Team program.

Mr. Moore serves as a member of the RIP Guardian program for the Imperial Prison Cemetery. Mr. Moore's son, Reginald J. Moore, earned a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Prairie View AM, and has also contributed to this body of research.

Texas Monthly magazine featured Mr. Moore and his advocacy regarding convict leasing in the January 2017 issue, available online at http://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/sugar-land-slave-convict-labor-history/. In Summer 2017, construction began on the Sugar Land Heritage Museum and Visitor Center, with the City of Sugar Land and the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation as partners in its creation. The museum and visitor center are set to open by the end of 2017. Mr. Moore and the Texas Slave Descendants Society has lobbied since 2003 for a separate museum and monument to tell the story of convict leasing and black history, within the context of Fort Bend County history.

In 2018, unmarked graves in the vicinity of the Imperial Prison Cemetery were discovered when the land was being being developed for Fort Bend ISD's future technology center.

Fox 26 News story, "Mystery deepens over unmarked Sugar Land cemetery on Ft. Bend school site" April 13, 2018 http://www.fox26houston.com/news/mystery-deepens-over-unmarked-sugar-land-cemetery-on-site-of-ft-bend-school-project

KTRK ABC News story: "Historic cemetery found on construction site of Fort Bend ISD's future technology center" April 11, 2018: http://abc13.com/society/historic-cemetery-found-on-ft-bend-isd-work-site/3329602/

KTRK ABC News story: "89 graves found at construction site of Fort Bend ISD's new technology center" April 25, 2018 http://abc13.com/society/89-graves-found-at-site-of-fort-bend-isds-new-technology-center/3392447/

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Content Description

Correspondence, reports, research notes, and photographs created and/or maintained by Mr. Reginald Moore, relating to the history of the Convict Leasing System in Sugar Land, Texas and current efforts to publicly recognize that history. The reports included in this collection are in some cases publicly available, but are difficult to access. Correspondence includes letters and emails between Mr. Moore and various public officials and other interested parties such as archaeologist Fred McGhee.

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Restrictions

Conditions Governing Access

This material is open for research.

Conditions Governing Access

Stored onsite at the Woodson Research Center.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish from this material must be facilitated through the Woodson Research Center.

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Index Terms

Convict labor -- Texas
Prisoners -- Texas -- History
reports
letters (correspondence)
maps (documents)
notes
clippings (information artifacts)
Moore, Reginald

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Related Materials

An exhibit featuring this material has been created by Rice Univesity students as part of a Houston Area Research Team project in July 2015 under the leadership of Dr. Lora Wildenthal. See the exhibit online at http://exhibits.library.rice.edu/exhibits/show/sugarlandconvictleasing/about.

A physical exhibit called "Convict Leasing in Sugar Land: Featuring the Research Collection of Reginald Moore" was created and displayed at Rice University's Fondren Library in December 2015. This display coincided with the 150th anniversary of the 1865 13th Amendment to the Constitution. A news story in video format is available online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fC6dsIE-mY8.

Additional archival materials relating to Reginald Moore's community activism are located the African American Library at the Gregory School, in Houston, Texas, http://www.thegregoryschool.org/collection.html.

Related Materials

News coverage of these 2018 findings, and more are listed at https://exhibits.library.rice.edu/exhibits/show/sugarlandconvictleasing/bodies-found-2018.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Reginald Moore Sugar Land Convict Leasing System research collection, 1878-2017, MS 636, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This material was donated by Reginald Moore in 2015-2018.

Reginald Moore can be contacted by phone.

To contact him, please provide your phone number to the staff at the Woodson Research Center, at woodson@rice.edu or 713-348-2586. The staff will provide your request to Mr. Moore, in accordance with our donor privacy policy. Thank you very much.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I: Background

Box Folder
1 1 Convict leasing background
2 Sugar Land background
3 Reginald Moore biographical sketch
4 Note fragments from Reginald Moore
5 Flanagan House background
6 Archaeology
Scope and Contents
Includes "An Archeological Survey of the Proposed Brazos River Corridor Park (Phase 1), City of Sugar Land, Fort Bend County, Texas, Texas Antiquities Permit No. 3383" May 2004, by Moore Archeological Consulting Inc.
7-8 Texas Slave Descendants Society notes and letters
9 Texas Slave Descendants Society letterhead samples
10 Texas Slave Descendants Society packet regarding Imperial Char House 2005
11 Texas Slave Descendants Society packet regarding Central State Prison Farm 2006-2007
12 Site assessment for 96 acres at Hwy 6 and Hwy 90A, 2009

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Series II: Correspondence

Box Folder
1 13 Fred McGhee, archaeologist, correspondence 2014
14 City of Sugar Land correspondence regarding bond election and public testimony
Box Folder
2 1-2 Texas Historical Commission, including June 25, 2013 letter of support regarding recognition efforts for convict leasing system, written to City of Sugar Land
General
Also includes correspondence regarding historical marker at Old Imperial Farm Cemetery and list of tombstone inscriptions in that cemetery.
Correspondence regarding historical marker at Old Imperial Farm Cemetery and list of tombstone inscriptions in that cemetery
Newland Communities survey correspondence, 2002-2004
Newland Communities, Notice of Application regarding standard permit, Permit 23235, Nov. 2003
Aliana Development Co. Wetland Development Mitigation Plan 2006
Newland Communities Permit Application 23235: Environmental Assessment and Statement of Findings, 2004
Newland Communities Permit Application 23252 Proposed Site Development Wetland Overlay Map and related correspondence, 2004-2007
City of Sugar Land correspondence with Texas Historical Commission regarding sale of Central Prison Unit in Fort Bend County, 2013
Texas Historical Commission RIP Cemetery Guardian program correspondence with Reginald Moore, 2010
THC correspondence with Reginald Moore regarding concerns about possible additional graves on Central Prison Unit tracts 4 and 5, 2006
Box Folder
2 3 City of Sugar Land, regarding Lonnie Green Park, 2015
4 Texas Historical Commission, agendas and recordings on CD, January 2016
5 Texas Historical Commission, audio recording October 2016
6 Texas Historical Commission, 2017 correspondence regarding archaeological review of site for James Reese Career and Technology Center (Fort Bend ISD)
7 Fort Bend ISD and Goshawk Environmental Consulting correspondence regarding prisoners' bodies found in unmarked graves 2018
Box Folder
3 1 State of Texas political representatives 2013-2014
Scope and Contents
Includes December 2014 letter from the office of Texas Senator Joan Huffman acknowledging receipt of Mr. Moore's fax and phone calls; December 2014 letter from the office of the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee including Senator John Whitmire and Senator Joan Huffman, thanking Mr. Moore for his recent letter requesting an apology from the state regarding the convict leasing system. Also includes a letter from Mr. Moore dated October 2013, to Ms. Dede Keith of the Office of the Governor (Rick Perry) requesting an apology from the state regarding the convict leasing system.The Governor's office suggests working with the Texas Historical COmmission on this issue.
2 Texas General Land Office 2007-2013
Scope and Contents
2007 correspondence regarding whether the Old Imperial Farm Cemetery is in the Battle or Hodge League survey, and a copy of the 2001 "Archaeological Reconnaisance of High Probability Areas in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Harlem Prison Farm Tract, Fort Bend, County, Texas," as well as a copy of the "Historic American Building Survey Texas Central State Prison Farm, Central 2 Camp HABS No. TX-"; and 2013 correspondence regarding what would be required by the Texas Antiquities Code if the General Land Office sold the Central Unit prison lands.
3 Texas Department of Criminal Justice, map of Central Unit's Historic Sites and Boundaries (undated)
4 Texas Board of Criminal Justice 2013
Scope and Contents
Letter from Oliver Bell of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, to Mark Wolfe, of the Texas Historical Commission, regarding the sale over time of parts of the Central Unit lands, and that the General Land Office will conduct sales in accordance with "all applicable statutory requirements pertaining to the protection of state archaeological antiquities."
5 Save Texas Cemeteries 2006
6 University of Houston Sugar Land campus correspondence 2013-2014
7 Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy 2014-2015
8 Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission 2015
Scope and Contents
Letter of response to Mr. Moore stating that the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission contacted Sen. Joan Huffman's office regarding the convict leasing system.
9 Rice University 2015
9a Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, including Jay Jenkins 2016
Scope and Contents
Correspondence documenting initial contact between Mr. Moore and TCJC.

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Series III: Resolutions and Awards

Box Folder
3 10 First Annual Juneteenth and Abolitionist Recognition Day in Sugar Land 2010
11 Old Imperial Black Prison Cemetery Preservation and Historical Society honored for its commitment to preserving the heritage of this state and its people, by Dora Olivo, State Rep. District 27
12 Emancipator Awards 2013-2015
Biographical / Historical
The Emanciaptor Award is an annual Labor Day Recognition of the Convict Lease System, presented to a deserving community member by the Texas Slave Descendants Society.
Texas State Rep. Dora Olivo 2013
Patty Sayes 2014
Dr. Lora Wildenthal, Rice University 2015

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Series IV: Newsclippings

Box Folder
3 13 Newsclippings, including Summer 2017 news article regarding creation of Sugar Land Heritage Museum and Visitor Center 2004-2017
14 Newsclippings regarding discovery of 95 unmarked prisoner graves 2018

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Series V: Published reports

Box Folder
3 15 Biennial Report of the Directors and Superintendent of the Texas State Penitentiary (photocopy) 1878-1880
Box Folder
4 1 Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Central Unit Main Building and its Historical Significance 2003
2 Texas Central Prison State Farm, Central 2 Camp, HABS No. TX- ___
3 Bob Skiles report on Central State Prison Farm
4 Hell Hole on the Brazos 2004
5 Jaybird Woodpecker War research and notes
6 Brazoria County convict leasing research from the Brazoria County Historical Museum, including Lake Jackson Plantation
7 Mexican American War in my own words, by Reginald Jeremy Moore, 2008

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Series VI: Photographs

Box Folder
4 8-9 Photographs from Texas State Library and Archives (digital and print)

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Series VII: Video of public testimony regarding bond election 2006-2013

Conditions Governing Access
Video content to processed as AIP, Summer 2017. (asf format to mp4 in handbrake software, Z:\Video\ReginaldMoore-HART-2015)
Sugar Land City Council testimony and public comment. Dates: Feb. 21, 2006; July 16, 2013; August 06, 2013;August 20, 2013. Topic: park bond proposal regarding legacy of convict leasing in that area, requesting a memorial of some kind and/ or a museum in the park area. 2006-2013

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Series VIII: Community events, publicity and speaking 2013-2017

Box Folder
4 10 Black Panthers background and note of Reginald Moore's comments on radio shows
11 Event: 1st Annual Juneteenth Celebration / Abolitionist Day Recognition program
12 Events: 1st Annual Labor Day Recognition program, 2013
13 Events: Labor Day Festival / Texas Slave Descendants Society program, 2014
13a Television show "The Dead Files" featuring prison farm in Lake Jackson, 2016
14 Event: 4th Annual Labor Day Recognition event program "Where Do We Go from Here?" flyers 2016
Event: 4th Annual Labor Day Recognition event program "Where Do We Go from Here?" audio recording of speeches (4 hours, 7 minutes) 2016
Scope and Contents
Filename MLK-event-2016-speeches.MP3
Box Folder
4 15 Regarding Ava DuVernay's film project"13th" on Netflix, Reginald Moore's comments on radio show Democracy Now, 2016
16 Correspondence regarding film project by Alex Johnston "A Natural Death" 2015
17 Article on Reginald Moore by Texas Monthly magazine, "Blood and Sugar" January 2017
18 Radio call-in show transcription, "Prison Show," KPFT, Nov. 6, 2016
19 Event: Moore speaking at Women Empowerment Training Institute, on free labor having built Sugar Land, certificate and images, 2017
KPRC news coverage of 2016 MLK event organized by Reginald Moore (audio recording of tv news), Sept. 5, 2016
Scope and Contents
Filename MLK-event2016-KPRCnews.MP3
KFPT Houston radio talk show recording regarding slavery and MLK (7 minutes 42 seconds)
Scope and Contents
Filename KPFT-radio-undated.mp3
C-SPAN interview, Reginald Moore calling in regarding reparations for slavery and other crimes against African-Americans, audio (6 minutes 42 seconds) 2017-11-13
Scope and Contents
Filename C_SPAN-call-in-2017.MP3
C-SPAN interview, Reginald Moore calling in regarding budget priorities, defense spending when social security needs attention to help the poor (3 minutes, 23 seconds) 2017-02-28
Scope and Contents
Filename C-SPAN-Feb29-2017.MP3
C-SPAN call-in regarding MLK, the Poor People's Campaign (2 minutes and 39 seconds) 2017-04-04
Related Materials
Filename C-SPAN-April4-2017.MP3
Texas Historical Commission public meetings recording, January 2016
Scope and Contents
Full commission meeting, as well as Antiquities Advisory Board, Archaeology committee, Architecture committee, and more. Mr. Moore was present and recorded the audio.

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Series IX: Community events, publicity, speaking regarding discovery of prisoners' bodies, 2018

Box Folder
4 20 Correspondence, event flyers, news clippings 2018
Box Folder
5 1 Event flyers, news clippings 2019
2 Texas Historical Commission correspondence with Mr. Moore, summarizing the sequence of events and Mr. Moore's advocacy steps as understood by THC, as well as a description of the now defunct RIP Guardian program for cemeteries 2019
Video of speaking event at Harvard University, "Unearthing the truth, Sugar Land, TX" 2019-03-11
Scope and Contents
You Tube video of streamed event https://bit.ly/2VzjRHQ

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Series X: Additional Sugar Land and Fort Bend County background

Box Folder
5 3 Sugar Land news clippings and background
Newsclippings
Report: "Texas Oldest Cane Sugar Refinery" by Bettye J. Anhaiser for the Texas Historical Commission, 1976-1977
Imperial Redevelopment Project, Sugar Land, TX, Pattern Book, by Southern Land Company LLC, March 2008
Sugar Land and Central State Farm History article, by Allen Bogard
Box Folder
5 4 Slavery in Texas background
"Slavery in the Republic of Texas" thesis by Linda Myers Purcell, UNT, May 1982
General
Research copy photocopy of thesis, obtained from Brazoria County Historical Museum
"Slavery in Early Texas," Political Science Quarterly, September 1898
"Management of Negroes upon Southern Estates" Debow's review, Agricultural, commercial, industrial progress and resources. Volume 10, Issue 6, June 1851, pp. 621-627
"Slavery in Houston: The 1850s" by Susan Jackson, Summer 1980 (publication name illegible)
"The African Slave Trade in Texas," by Eugene C. Barker, Texas Historical Association Quarterly
Box Folder
5 5 Walter Moss Burton historical marker documentation, Fort Bend County, 1992
6 Reginald Moore's annotated copy of "Two Glass Buttons: A Story of the Runaway Scrape," by Marguerite Starr Crain
7 Report: "The Impact of Community Violence on African American Children and Families" by Maternal and Child Health Bureau
8 Printed copy of pamphlet "The Reason Why The Colored American Is Not in the World's Columbian Exposition"
9 Partial photocopy of book "The Willie Lynch Letter and the Making of a Slave" by William Lynch

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