The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983 Page: 107
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Whether the resistance was perpetrated by individuals, outlaw gangs,
or organized terrorists, it usually received at least passive support from
most whites. The vastness of Texas made it virtually impossible for
either the federal military or the state police effectively to protect
black life and property.
As a result of white opposition a majority of blacks remained land-
less agricultural workers. They were cheated, robbed, and abused
and could expect little or no redress. Their participation in politics
was severely limited by violence, economic coercion, and even preju-
dice within their own party. Most blacks were poor, segregated, and
subordinate. Thus black hope quickly turned to despair.
While the blacks' position in Texas remained circumscribed, it
was preferable to slavery, and in several areas, including education,
family, and religion, they made substantial gains. Blacks assisted by
the Freedmen's Bureau and northern benevolent societies established
scores of schools. A later sporadic and discriminatory system of public
education reached still other black youth. The black school, despite
its many limitations, was an important agency in the freedmen's strug-
gle to overcome the legacies of slavery.
As important as education was the formation of the separate church,
which became the central institution of the black community. Blacks
formed their own churches, in part in response to discrimination, but
more importantly because they represented freedom. Moreover, they
preferred their own modes of worship, and separation gave them an
opportunity to control their own institutions and to occupy leader-
ship positions. The church was far more than a social center and a
forum for black leaders, however. Church records reveal that "in
matters of religion and morality the behavior of blacks compared
favorably with that of whites" (p. 99). Church leadership may be one
reason the "black family in Texas had achieved a remarkable de-
gree of stability by 1870" (p. 115).
Frankly following the pattern of earlier revisionist historians, Small-
wood has sought to "fill gaps" in the surprisingly sketchy knowledge of
black Texans during Reconstruction. He has succeeded. While the
reader may wish for more detailed treatment of the black family, black
religion, black landownership, indeed almost every aspect of black
life, this volume helps make up a notable deficiency. Time of Hope,
Time of Despair, is a pleasingly written and useful addition to the
history of blacks and Texas.
Florida State University
JOE M. RICHARDSON
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983, periodical, 1982/1983; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101209/m1/127/: accessed May 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.