From Slave to Statesman

The Legacy of Joshua Houston, Servant to Sam Houston

978-0-929398-87-7 Paperback
6 x 9 x 0 in
296 pp. 60 b&w photos.
Pub Date: 01/01/1995


  • Paperback $16.95 s

"A fascinating . . . account of the life and legacy of . . . a slave . . . who became . . . one of the first black city aldermen and property owners during Reconstruction . . . A good example of history from the bottom up."Library Journal

"Imaginative biography . . . Of particular interest is the authors' ingenious research: they assembled Joshua's story from Margaret and Sam Houston's correspondence and from the family stories of Joshua's descendants."Booklist

This is the story of the "other" Houston, Joshua, the slave of Margaret Lea until she married Sam Houston and moved to Texas in 1840. Joshua was unique among slaves: he was taught to read and write, and was allowed to keep money he earned. The story is set in a background of historical details about southern social history before, during, and after the Civil War.

Sources include slave autobiographies and biographies; Houston family letters; oral histories of descendants of both Houston families; birth, marriage and death records; land records and deeds; church and school records.

"Joshua Houston's story is absorbing and instructive by itself, but this book is more than the biography of one man . . . It provides nothing less than a detailed account of the emergence of a Black middle class . . . after the Civil War."Texas Review

Published by University of North Texas Press