When we think of the underground railroad we often think of the Northern United States or Canada, not deep South Texas.
But researchers in the Rio Grande Valley are working to uncover our region’s role in the Underground Railroad, because we were the last stop before Mexico, a country that abolished slavery.
“There really aren’t any primary sources left behind letters or document stating that somebody participated in this activity, because it was a secret,” said Roseann Bacha-Garza, with the UTRGV Community Historical Archaeology Project.
“So, it’s up to us as historians and those who are trying to piece together the story to uncover items and stitch together the story,” she said.
Slaves in Texas were familiar with the southern path to freedom.
Fugitive slaves heard of people in the Rio Grande Valley willing to help them.
Escaped slaves knew of two families could help them reach Mexico, the Jacksons and the Webbers, who settled in present day San Juan.