VOL. XL JANUARY, 1937 No. 3
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by contributors to THE QUARTERLY
THE FREE NEGRO IN THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS
The Mexican government in Texas recognized two social classes,
the free citizen and the slave. The Republic of Texas added to
these a third, free persons of color, and established for them a
separate and distinct legal status. These persons of color were
defined, in an act which incapacitated them from testifying in
court except against each other, as persons with one-eighth or more
Negro blood.' Actually, not all persons with this degree of admix-
ture complied with the regulations enacted to govern free Negroes.
Some Mexicans, doubtless, had larger fractions of Negro blood
coursing in their veins, yet all of them retained their status as
free white persons.2 Some Negroes, like Thomas Cevallos, lived
in the Republic during the ten years of its existence and were only
brought under free Negro regulations by the state government
which succeeded the Republic upon annexation to the United
States.a Others, actually free, retained their slave status under
benevolent masters, in many cases their own fathers, and only
found it necessary to claim their true status upon the death or
'An Act establishing the jurisdiction and power of the District Courts.
Gammel, The Laws of Texas, I, 1265-1266.
'See Chapter I, "Origin of the Free Negro in the Republic of Texas," in
Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XXXIX, 292-308.
'Memorial No. 91, File 81. November 7, 1851.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, July 1936 - April, 1937. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101099/. Accessed January 31, 2015.