Andrea Roberts: (Urban Planning)

Freedom Colonies Program 

The Freedom Colonies Program is an educational project preserving the heritage of Texas' African American towns, settlements, and the planners/preservationists that made them possible; Andrea Roberts is a preservation and planning scholar who founded this project. The program’s purpose is to document place names, stories, and contemporary challenges to retaining these places. Such places include Freedmen's Towns, Black settlements, or Urban enclaves. Former slaves and African American families aggressively pursued land ownership after the Civil War in Texas. Clusters of agrarian, land-owning settlements or “Freedom Colonies” emerged from secluded areas. Also known as Freedmen's Towns, settlements, these communities were unique in that they were founded by former slaves in Texas and trace their origins directly back to the period between 1866-1890. At one time, as many as 500+ settlements existed in Texas alone. Currently, there is an inability to find many of them on maps or in current census maps, but they live on through memory, church anniversaries, oral histories, and family reunions.