Trinity University in San Antonio Becomes the Third Texas School to Join Universities Studying Slavery.

Today, Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, becomes the third school in Texas (joining Rice University and Texas Christian University) to become a member of the Universities Studying Slavery (USS) consortium. As always, we here in Charlottesville welcome Trinity to our growing movement with open arms.

Trinity University was founded in 1869, in post-Civil War Limestone County, Texas. At the time a rural setting, Limestone County was part of the “Blackland Prairie” of Texas, which runs in a narrow strip from San Antonio north past Dallas. Beginning in the 1840’s, white colonialists established cotton plantations in this fertile land, creating vast wealth from the brutality of slavery. The founders of Trinity University were gentlemen farmers and influential members of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, a mostly southern, rural denomination that opposed the abolition of slavery.

Indeed, many Trinity University founders enslaved people, and most fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Today, the Trinity “Roots Commission” is investigating two main historical periods in the school’s history: first, the pre-war consolidation of wealth that enabled Trinity’s founding, and second, the founders’ involvement with post-War racial violence through, among other things, the enactment of Black Codes. As such, the Trinity Roots project focuses on the era of southern Reconstruction in solidifying white supremacy in higher education. The Roots Commission is also documenting how Trinity University’s existing account of its founding erases its legacy of racial violence.

You can read more about Trinity University’s Examining Our Roots here.