A Southern Family in White & Black: The Cuneys of Texas

By Douglas Hales | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
Politician and Slaveholder

Philip Cuney

MARY BOYKIN CHESNUT, the wife of a noted Confederate politician, saw firsthand the dark side of slavery and wrote in her diary: “God forgive us, but ours is a monstrous system, a wrong and an iniquity! Like the patriarchs of old, our men live all in one house with their wives and their concubines; and the mulattoes one sees in every family partly resemble the white children.” She condemned the practice by some slaveholders of having two families in the antebellum South. Sexual exploitation of female slaves by southern slaveholders represented one of the most heinous aspects of that peculiar institution. The progeny of such affairs presented a special problem for southern society and for the exploitative slaveholder. Whether for reasons of guilt, love, or a combination of the two, slaveholders sometimes freed their illicit offspring. According to Eugene Genovese, “Throughout the history of the slave regime there were planters who openly or surreptitiously accepted responsibility for the paternity of mulattoes, educated them, freed them, and, when manumission became difficult, made special provisions for their care.” After a sixteen-year relationship with his female slave Adeline Stuart that resulted in eight children, Philip Minor Cuney of Texas became one of those planters.1

Joel Williamson, in his book New People: Miscegenation and Mulattoes in the United States, wrote that while miscegenation occurred between all races and classes, the “most dramatic and most significant

-3-

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A Southern Family in White & Black: The Cuneys of Texas
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Chapter 1 - Politician and Slaveholder 3
  • Chapter 2 - Labor and Civic Leader 15
  • Chapter 3 - Political Education, 1869–83 40
  • Chapter 4 - New Leader of the Party 60
  • Chapter 5 - Party and Patronage 77
  • Chapter 6 - Maud Cuney 94
  • Chapter 7 - Musician, Director, Writer 108
  • Chapter 8 - Conclusion 138
  • Notes 143
  • Bibliography 163
  • Index 169
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