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Conference on Texas

Ode to Juneteenth: Slavery in Texas

December 5 & 6, 2024 • The Witte Museum

painting of slavery market
Johnny W. Banks was a Black Texas Folk Artist from San Antonio. His mixed media paintings drew from his memories and his imagination. Market Days (above) depicts the overwhelming despair of the enslaved at a slave auction in Texas.

A Two-Day Museum-Wide Conference, including:

  • Steering Committee chaired by Aaronetta Pierce will curate panel discussions featuring scholars from around the United States focused on slavery in Texas, including Dr. Daina Ramey Berry.
  • Anticipated attendance from throughout Texas and beyond.
  • More than 500 attendees expected.
  • 100 scholarships for college students.
  • Keynote speaker Annette Gordon-Reed.

Keynote Speaker: Annette Gordon-Reed

Annette Gordon-Reed

Juneteenth is America’s vital new holiday that marks the end of slavery, and its legacy continues to influence our understanding of freedom and our fight for racial justice today. Annette Gordon-Reed, MacArthur Genius and the first Black person to win the Pulitzer Prize for History, is one of the integral voices who brought Juneteenth into the national conversation.

Her New York Times bestselling book about this profound day—On Juneteenth—is a powerful, essential work of history that weaves together America’s past with personal memoir; it was named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post, TIME and NPR. The New York Times calls Annette “one of the most important American historians of our time.” She first rose to prominence when she pushed for scholars and the public to take Black people’s versions of history seriously—no matter how inconvenient they may be. Today, she draws on her book to show us how we can learn from the past and keep striving for progress together.

About the Conference on Texas Ode to Juneteenth: Slavery in Texas

The 2024 Conference on Texas at the Witte Museum will reveal the foundational role of chattel slavery in the formation and growth of Texas. The conference will center on the lives of the enslaved people, especially as mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers. Every facet of the expanding Texas economy was impacted by slavery and enslaved labor. Enslaved people not only labored on cotton and sugar plantations, they also worked as artisans such as blacksmiths, seamstresses, and as enslaved cowboys.

In 1834, there were approximately 5,000 enslaved people in Mexican Texas. During the Republic of Texas, slavery increased so that by 1845, there were at least 30,000 enslaved women, men and children in the new state of Texas. When Texas voted to join the Confederacy in 1861, the enslaved population was 182,566 people, the fastest growing demographic in Texas. The economy of Texas was so dependent upon slavery that not until June 19, 1865, now celebrated as Juneteenth, were enslaved people freed from bondage in Texas, two years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Through new scholarship, the Conference will broaden the understanding of the ongoing legacies from slavery which continue to impact African Americans in Texas.

For more information or to purchase tickets or to inquire about scholarships for the event, please call 210.357.1888 or email MichelleEveridge@WitteMuseum.org.

Witte Museum Conference on Texas is sponsored by HEB

The Conference on Texas is presented by H-E-B with generous support from Bank of America, the Smithsonian Institution’s Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past Initiative, Wells Fargo Advisors, William Knox Holt Foundation, Humanities Texas, the Smothers Foundation, Spurs Sports and Entertainment and Frost Bank.

Sponsorship Opportunities

  • Presenting Sponsor of the Conference on Texas
  • Logo recognition as the presenting sponsor on all printed event materials including invitation, program and event signage
  • (20) Complimentary tickets to the Conference on Texas
  • (50) Complimentary Witte Museum admission tickets
  • (4) Invitations to the annual Witte Museum’s President’s Dinner

Only One Available

  • Name recognition as on all printed event materials including invitation program, and event signage
  • Special name recognition from the event stage
  • (10) Complimentary tickets to the Conference on Texas
  • (2) Invitations to the annual Witte Museum’s President’s Dinner
  • Name recognition as on all printed event materials including invitation program, and event signage
  • Special name recognition at the Conference Reception
  • (8) Complimentary tickets to the Conference on Texas
  • (2) Invitations to the annual Witte Museum’s President’s Dinner

Only One Available

  • Name recognition as on all printed event materials including invitation program, and event signage
  • (8) Complimentary tickets to the Conference on Texas
  • (2) Invitations to the annual Witte Museum’s President’s Dinner
  • Underwrites free and discounted registration for educators and students
  • Name recognition as on all printed event materials including
    invitation program, and event signage
  • (4) Complimentary tickets to the Conference on Texas
  • (2) Invitations to the annual Witte Museum’s President’s Dinner
  • Name recognition as on all printed event materials including invitation program, and event signage
  • Special name recognition in the Conference video
  • (4) Complimentary tickets to the Conference on Texas
  • (2) Invitations to the annual Witte Museum’s President’s Dinner

Only One Available

  • Special name recognition as on all printed event materials including invitation program, and event signage
  • (4) Complimentary tickets to the Conference on Texas
  • (2) Invitations to the annual Witte Museum’s President’s Dinner
  • Name recognition as on all printed event materials including invitation program, and event signage
  • Special Name Recognition from the panel stage
  • (4) Complimentary tickets to the Conference on Texas
  • (2) Invitations to the annual Witte Museum’s President’s Dinner
Thank you for your support of the 2024 Conference on Texas!

Contact Mendi Etheredge, Chief of Advancement, at 210.357.1851 or MendiEtheredge@WitteMuseum.org to reserve your sponsorship or if you have questions.

Previous Conference on Texas Resources

guests sit at tables during luncheon
Conference on Texas 2023: Origin Stories

March 23-24, 2023

Dive into Texas’ wild and vivid lands, especially its people, their resilience and how they adapted to or impacted the ever-developing Texas.

Resources:

man speaks at podium on stage
Conference on Texas 2022: Changing Landscapes

May 16-17, 2022

A global conversation about Texas, especially people’s relationships with the land, in the past, present and future.

Resources:

women listening to speaker
Conference on Texas 2021: From Tejas to Texas

May 13-14, 2021

This conference focuses on the transition from Tejas to Texas—the state we live in today.

Resources: