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Marie Jeanne escaped from her Louisiana enslaver in the 1790s and made it to San Antonio de Bexar where she claimed her freedom and called herself Maria Juana.

Since the 1790s she pleaded with her former enslaver to buy her own son’s freedom and bring him to San Antonio, but the enslaver consistently refused.

As a free woman in San Antonio, she then petitioned the governor for assistance, and finally, on February 9, 1808, Marie Jeanne was able to purchase the freedom of her own son for four hundred pesos.

This case was like a puzzle. I searched many archives across Texas and Louisiana to piece together Marie Jeanne’s life. My first chapter centers her empowering story more fully.

#BlackWomen #FreedomFighters #South of #USSlavery #FreedomDestinations #Mexico


Slaveholders in Texas (& across many Southern states also) actively and illegally crossed into Mexico to pursuing formerly enslaved persons who fled from their bondage. Bexar County (San Antonio) slaveholders had official plans on what to do with enslaved persons that slave hunters illegally brought back to the US from Mexican territory.

#FreedomSeekers #SlaveHunters #MexicanDestinations


19 year old Roda dressed as a man and with another companion fled Missouri and sought to reach freedom in Mexico.

After almost almost a four-month journey, in the town of Dhanis, Texas, not too far from the road that led to Piedras Negras, Mexico, she & her companion asked about the way to Mexico. Unfortunately, they were discovered and caught.

Her companion was able to escape, but Roda was committed to the San Antonio de Bexar jail, where a few days later she gave birth to her son. #1856 #FreedomSeekers #FreedomFighters #MexicanDestinations #ManyDidNotMakeItToFreedom


An unnamed Black man enslaved by Texas Judge Jones, in the area of New Braunfels, escaped likely aided by four Native American men.

El Bejareño Newspaper, San Antonio, Texas, June 23, 1855.


Esther, a Black woman born in 1810, was sold in Texas on November 28, 1842.


Adaline was a freedom seeker who fled her Blanco County enslaved and likely traveled south, to a Mexico.

Was there a way station for the Underground Railroad located in Blanco County? By Steve Rossignol:


Alfred crafted his own channel to liberation from Colorado County, Texas, southward in 1862. He fled a mere 14 days before Lincoln issued the emancipation proclamation through which, by law, Alfred would have become free.


Mr. David Thomas, with his daughter and three grand children, fled US slavery and went to Mexico. He immediately presented himself in the local ayuntamiento of the town of Allende to petition for asylum “to save his family from slavery.”

I am not sure if he ever applied for formal citizenship, but he did receive residency and protection under the laws as any other Mexican citizen.

April 23, 1849

Document is from the Archivo General del Estado de Coahuila


Isabella, an African-born woman, took her enslaver to court and argued that she had been smuggled into Mexico by the slave trader James Fannin, and that because Mexican law declared any enslaved person who was smuggled into that Republic free, she was therefore free as soon as she had landed on Mexican soil.

Isabella also declared that shortly thereafter she was forced by an enslaver to go to Louisiana where she had been repeatedly sold, even though she told every enslaver who bought her that she was a free woman.

Note: Isabella was correct. In 1824 Mexico passed the Federal Act of 1824, a law that prohibited the introduction of any enslaved persons, from any foreign country, into Mexican territory, including Mexican Texas. The law stated that any enslaved person who was smuggled automatically gained their freedom upon setting foot on Mexican territory.

Excerpt is from a 107-page court case document located in the manuscript collections at LSU.


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