Lone Star Unionism & Dissent: Session 3
During the Civil War, Warren Jacob Collins of Hardin County, Texas, led a band of guerrillas that hid out in East Texas’s Big Thicket. Collins’s occasional appearance in Texas folklore as a backwoods, bare-knuckled fighter or, alternatively, the “Daniel Boone” of East Texas, has long obscured the deeply-held political views that led him (and six of his brothers) to support the Union against the Confederacy. A careful study of the Texas Collins brothers and the Big Thicket uprising reveals the uprising’s yeoman roots as well as its direct ties to the more famous yeoman uprising in Mississippi known as the “Free State of Jones.” The political postwar evolution of Warren J. Collins in turn provides a window on connections between Southern Unionism and the rise of third party challenges to the Democratic Party.
Dr. Bynum is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at Texas State University-San Marcos. She earned her Ph.D. in History at the University of California, San Diego and taught Antebellum, Civil War, and Women’s history in San Marcos from 1986 to 2010. She is the author of four books and numerous articles in various anthologies and journals, including The Long Shadow of the Civil War: Southern Dissent and Its Legacies (University of North Carolina Press, 2010), The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War (University of North Carolina Press, 2001, film rights purchased by Universal Pictures in 2007) and Unruly Women: The Politics of Social and Sexual Control in the Old South. (University of North Carolina Press, 1992). Along with various awards for scholarship and teaching from Texas State University, Bynum is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, the Lawrence T. Jones III Research Fellowship, Texas State Historical Association, and the Lena Lake Forrest Fellowship, Business and Professional Women's Foundation, Washington, D.C.
Despite popular lore that tends to focus on events reinforcing common perceptions of Texan exceptionalism and virtues—which leads many Texans to assume their state emerged from the Civil War virtually unscathed—facts reveal many regions were deeply scarred by wartime experiences, and the violence did not come from invasions. Confederate Texans proved just as intolerant of dissenters as Southerners in many other states, and they reacted just as violently to internal challenges. North Texas became the arena for many brutal operations against Unionists, which undermine claims of both exceptionalism and virtue by Texans concerning the Civil War. Instead, residents of the Lone Star State, like Southerners who lived elsewhere in the former Confederacy, had to reflect on a divided legacy that included not just the heroism of units such as Hood's Texas Brigade, but also the viciousness of events such as the Great Hanging at Gainesville.
Dr. McCaslin is a professor of history at the University of North Texas. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin and prior to arriving in Denton was a member of the history department at High Point University. He is the author or editor of fifteen books, including Tainted Breeze: The Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas, October 1862 (LSU Press, winner of the Texas State Historical Association’s Tullis Award), Lee in the Shadow of Washington (LSU, 2001; winner of the Slatten Award of the Virginia Historical Society and a nominee for the Pulitzer in Biography), and Fighting Stock: John S. Rip Ford of Texas (TCU Press, 2011), along with several volumes in the award-winning Portraits of Conflict series. A Fellow of the Texas State Historical Association, he is also a contributor to many other publications such as the New Handbook of Texas and a two-volume history of the Texas Senate. His forthcoming publications focus on Texas and nineteenth-century United States military history.
Elizabeth Hayes Turner | Three Cheers to Freedom and Equal Rights to All: Juneteenth and the Meaning of Citizenship
Occupying Union troops entered Texas in June more than two months after the Civil war had ended, but it was on June 19 (Juneteenth) that a portion of the 250,000 slaves—the last within the Confederacy—learned of their freedom. The emancipation announcement, made by General Gordon Granger in Galveston, tested the resolve of slavery supporters and began in earnest the development of a freedom tradition that has lasted to this day. During Juneteenth's evolution from 1865 to the turn of the century, black communities came together annually to celebrate their liberation and to honor the president who had freed them. Over time, leaders and social justice activists used Juneteenth gatherings as a pragmatic way not only to remember with pride black state office holders but also to launch important goals for African Americans. The creation of Reconstruction government demonstrated that democracy could be carried out by a black and white voting populace, a memory that would later be suppressed by whites seeking to disfranchise black voters. As Reconstruction faded and Redeemers returned to state office, African Americans, through Juneteenth celebrations, kept alive the meaning of freedom, the history of their political participation, and the quest for full citizenship under the law.
Dr. Turner received her Ph.D. in American history from Rice University and is currently Professor of History at the University of North Texas. She is the author of Women and Gender in the New South, 1865-1945 (2009) and Women, Culture, and Community: Religion and Reform in Galveston, 1880-1920 (1997), which won three awards, including the Coral Horton Tullis Memorial Prize awarded by the Texas State Historical Association. She is co-author of Galveston and the 1900 Storm: Catastrophe and Catalyst (2000). She is the author of several articles and co-editor of six volumes, including Lone Star Pasts: Memory and History in Texas (2007), which won the T. R. Fehrenbach Award in Texas history from the Texas Historical Commission. In 2003 she was a Fulbright Lecturer to the University of Genoa, Italy. For spring 2011 she was awarded a Bill & Rita Clements Fellowship for the Study of Southwestern America from the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University. In 2011 the Texas State Historical Association elected her a Fellow. Her current book project is Juneteenth: The Evolution of an Emancipation Celebration.
Edmund J. Davis was a prominent Texas politician in the antebellum era who supported the Union in the secession crisis of 1860-1861, fled the state and became a general in the Union Army, then returned after the war to become an important figure in the state's Republican Party and ultimately the state’s governor. In the latter position he urged a new course for Texas, even supporting full rights for the state’s newly freed slaves. Moneyhon examines Davis’s course during these years, assessing the causes for the decisions he made. This examination shows, ultimately, the plight of an individual whose constitutional and legal views precluded his endorsement of the actions of the state’s Democratic majority. It illustrates how the uncompromising stance of the latter and their refusal to tolerate any wavering on the issue of secession and their justification of it following Confederate defeat forced unwanted decisions on a fundamentally conservative man. The fanatical position held by the Democratic leadership, in the end, radicalized Davis and accounts for the emergence of an individual willing to challenge their leadership and even the socio-economic status quo in Texas.
Dr. Moneyhon received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, and has taught in the Department of History at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, since 1974 present. Author and editor of numerous books and articles, he is the author of five major works, including Edmund J. Davis: Civil War General, Republican Leader, Reconstruction Governor (TCU Press, 2010), Texas After the Civil War: The Struggle of Reconstruction (Texas A&M University Press, 2004) and Republicanism in Reconstruction Texas (University of Texas Press, 1980, reprinted by Texas A&M University Press in 2001). Aside from a number of scholarship awards from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Moneyhon has been honored as a Fellow of the Texas State Historical Association and received a Research Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.