The End of Bootstraps and Good Masters: Fostering Social Inclusion by Creating Counternarratives Institutional Repository Document uri icon


  • "And Andrea Roberts explains how the Texas Freedom Colonies Atlas, another online mapping tool, serves as a platform for collaborators to collect and store data about Black settlements. But as Roberts asserts, rendering such places visible and geographic requires spaces for cocreation with those whose stories have been omitted, annulled, or deliberately forgotten. Her work with East Texas freedom colony descendants to record the origin stories of Black communities critically illustrates how dominant white constructions of place and public history obscure past and present Black agency in place-keeping and preservation. While the archival void of Black histories and places complicates this disremembering, Roberts explores new ways of listening for and documenting the “null value.” She describes place-based activities of storytelling, stewardship, and annual commemorative events, which at once reproduce cultural knowledge about freedom colonies and create spaces of counternarrative. Settlements like the freedom colonies are becoming increasingly invisible with the loss of populations and buildings, especially as access to traditional preservation tools—like designation of historic districts— has been limited due to structural barriers and bias. But the persistent relationship between people and place, even if largely dependent on oral traditions rather than historic buildings, speaks to the power of space and spatial encounters for memory, recognition, and the decentering of dominant narratives." p. 16-17

author list (cited authors)

  • Roberts, A

complete list of authors

  • Roberts, Andrea

publication date

  • March 2020