The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

chapters, dealing with the history of black Texans at specified time periods
between 1865 and the I970s, is subdivided internally along the following
topical lines: politics, violence, and legal status; labor and economic status;
education; and social life. Those readers who use the book for reference
purposes will appreciate this arrangement. Those who read it straight
through will probably find the scheme confusing and at times repetitious.
Scholars with specialized interests will naturally wish that certain subjects
had been handled in more detail. Barr's purpose, however, was to write a
brief survey to provide the general reader with a convenient summary of
previously inaccessible information. He is surely correct in assuming that
his study will stimulate other historians to do further research into many of
the topics to which he could give only brief consideration in the book.
A brief overview of a complex subject, based primarily on the research
of others, is bound to contain errors of fact and controversial generaliza-
tions. Most of the factual errors are minor. An example is Barr's statement
(p. 182) that in 1951 Austin changed its city council representation from
geographical districts to an at-large basis in an apparent effort to insure an
all-white council. Actually, the change occurred before World War II and
can probably best be explained on other than racial grounds. One of the
more questionable generalizations is the author's assertion (p. 52) that
heavy white immigration into Texas in the early I87os accounts for E. J.
Davis's defeat in his race for reelection as governor in 1873.
Tracing the source of any of Barr's facts and interpretations is very
difficult because of the absence of footnote citations. Unfortunately, too,
the writing style is uneven. There are several awkward sentences in the
early chapters. Careful editing and proofreading by the publisher would
have eliminated these and most of the too-numerous typographical errors
as well.
Nevertheless, Black Texans is a major contribution to Texas historiogra-
phy. A more definitive history of the black experience in Texas will doubt-
less be written someday. In the meantime, this excellent brief account, with
its seemingly complete annotated bibliography, will provide teachers and
students with useful information about a subject too long neglected.
Austin Community College ROGER A. GRIFFIN
Robert Simpson Neighbors and the Texas Frontier, 1836-1859. By Ken-
neth Franklin Neighbours. (Waco: Texian Press, 1975. Pp. v+349.
Photographs, maps, bibliography, index. $12.95.)
With the publication of Robert Simpson Neighbors and the Texas Fron-

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101203/. Accessed April 16, 2014.