James E. Youngblood: Race, Family, and Farm Ownership in Jim Crow Texas

Keith J. Volanto

in Beyond Forty Acres and a Mule

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780813039862
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813043777 | DOI:
James E. Youngblood: Race, Family, and Farm Ownership in Jim Crow Texas

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Keith J. Volanto traces the history of one biracial man, James E. Youngblood, from his progenitors' trek from Alabama to Texas during the 1850s (including slaves and their white owners), his acquisition of land in 1894, and his conveyance of his property to his wife in 1946. Volanto delves into complicated race and family relationships that helped define light-skinned James E. Youngblood's life. Racial ambiguity (association with whites as a bound laborer and social distance from his black family) allowed Youngblood to emerge in post-Reconstruction Texas as a prosperous farmer. He secured economic security through domination of his own large hardworking family, agricultural diversification, self-sufficiency, and connections with markets, but this did not guarantee him full citizenship or equal rights. Youngblood prospered not because of deep connections within African American communities but almost despite these associations. Instead, connections to extended white kin allowed Youngblood to become the “Squire of Limestone County.”

Keywords: James E. Youngblood; Alabama; Texas; family; biracial; light-skinned; slaves; diversification; self-sufficiency

Chapter.  8237 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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