Alpine, TX 79832
Museum of the Big Bend in Alpine
The Museum of the Big Bend, on the campus of Sul Ross State University, Alpine, TX is honored to present the photography exhibit The Upshaws of County Line: An American Family. This exhibit is the result of documentary photographer Richard Orton’s 25 year project, begun the first day after Thanksgiving in 1988, documenting life in the African American community of County Line in deep East Texas. Known as a “freedom colony,” County Line came into being when, in the 1880s, the Upshaw brothers, Guss, Felix and Jim, brought their families there to create a community of their own.
The familiar narrative about emancipated slaves tells us that they became sharecroppers or lived in neighborhoods in towns near whites for whom they worked. A third group, largely ignored in history books until recently, formed their own communities, mostly out of sight of white folks, in the wilderness. County Line was such a place.
Freedom colonies add a different narrative to the Jim Crow reality experienced by African Americans beginning in the late 19th Century. Unlike most blacks, the land owning inhabitants of County Line and other such places were able to create refuges from a dominant white culture.
The exhibit contains 30 black and white images with interpretive panels and DVD. The exhibition was organized by Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas.
The Upshaws of County Line: An American Family opens to the public on Friday, January 18th from 6-8 pm. A gallery talk is scheduled the following morning, Saturday, January 19th starting at 10 am. The exhibit remains on display until March 24th.
The Museum of the Big Bend, on the campus of Sul Ross State University, has been telling the story of the Big Bend region for over 90 years. Located in the historic 1936 Texas Centennial Museum building, the Museum of the Big Bend showcases the diverse peoples and cultures of this unique area of far West Texas. In addition, temporary exhibits include the annual Trappings of Texas featuring custom cowboy gear and fine Western art, a summer photography show and curated map exhibits from the Museum’s Yana and Marty Davis Map Collection.
You can find the Museum of the Big Bend on the Sul Ross State University campus at Entrance 4. The Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9am-5pm and Sunday, 1-5pm. Closed on Monday and major holidays. Free admission and parking. Donations are welcomed!
To learn more visit www.museumofthebigbend.com or call 432.837.8143. Like us on Facebook and Instagram, too!
Alpine, TX 79832