The Legacy of the Underground Railroad in Texas - The Webber and Jackson Families of Hidalgo County
While most of the pathways of the Underground Railroad to lead north into Canada, there was also movement along pathways through Texas and into Mexico. Lured by the fact that slavery was abolished in Mexico, enslaved peoples were able to achieve freedom by traversing Texas, slipping over the Rio Grande, and settling in colonies throughout northern Mexico. As Mexico had abolished slavery, the path to freedom for many African Americans was through Texas. With the re-enactment of the Fugitive Slave Act, the Dred Scott Decision, and anti-miscegenation laws, families of mixed races felt the crescendo of animosity and hate throughout the southern states. This film tells the unique story of two bi-racial families, the Webbers and the Jacksons, who migrated to the newly established natural and international border and established their identity through immediate assimilation into Tejano culture. The unique characters within these mixed race families sought a new beginning as frontier pioneers along the natural border known as the Rio Grande. Both families were led by white men, John Webber and Nathaniel Jackson, and their strong, determined, and brave African American wives, Silvia Hector Webber and Matilda Hicks Jackson respectively. The willingness of these families to help those in need speaks largely to the current regional cultural legacy of helping others. These families displayed a strong commitment to underserved populations because they were welcoming and willing to assist others. Their participation in what we refer to as Underground Railroad-like activity is what puts these families on the national and international map. Today's descendants of the Jackson and Webber families have been instrumental to this research. We would like to thank each and every one of them who have assisted in this process along the way.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Community Historical Archaeology Project with Schools Program (CHAPS), "The Legacy of the Underground Railroad in Texas - The Webber and Jackson Families of Hidalgo County" (2022). Community Historical Archaeology Project with Schools (CHAPS) Recordings. 4.