Preserving the real places and the real stories of Texas.
  • Help preserve Texas history by supporting Friends of the Texas Historical CommissionHelp preserve Texas history by supporting Friends of the Texas Historical Commission

    Virtual Event Series

    The Friends of the Texas Historical Commission holds free, virtual events each month. Many are offered in partnership with the Texas Historical Commission's State Historic Sites, while others are presented by experts in a variety of topics ranging from football to pralines. We look forward to seeing you! 



    Wednesday, June 22, 6:00 p.m. Central
    The Dichotomy of Purple Hull Peas
    Presenter: Dr. Clarence Bunch
    Platform: Zoom (Registrants will receive the link to the event via email closer to the event date)
    Cost: Free

    The Purple Hull pea has been a part of the African American culture and heritage for over a hundred years. It has served as a source of family sustainability before understanding its nutritional source. This presentation will share the communal value of the Purple Hull pea, as it relates to the African American community. 

    Dr. Clarence Bunch is currently the Agriculture Natural Resource Program Leader for Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) College of Agriculture and Human Science (CAHS) Cooperative Extension Program (CEP). His responsibilities include providing visionary leadership to County Extension Agents and direction on the development of statewide Agriculture Extension Education Programs.

    Dr. Bunch has built partnerships and provided leadership with local, federal, state, and county agriculture organizations. He has served in numerous roles with community and civic organizations. He is a former as Executive Board Member of the NAACP, Board Member of the Sandusky Citizen Coalition, and member of the Ohio NRCS Civil Rights Committee.

    He has authored 3 books, and holds an Associate Arts degree in Agricultural Industrial Technology, a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Agricultural Economics, a Master’s degree in Management, and a Ph. D. in Leadership and Change. He was born and raised in Tallulah, La.

    The Texas Purple Hull Pea Festival started in 2014 to celebrate cultural traditions in agricultural and food related to the Southeast Texas region, more specifically the historic Shankleville community in Newtown County. Learn more about the 2022 festival happening June 25!



    (Hi)stories of the Soil: Texas Land Heritage Speaker Series

    Our history and heritage are inextricably intertwined with the land on which we live. This virtual event series will explore the history of land across Texas and the people who are an integral part of the stories it holds, including Indigenous American land and trails, Freedom Colonies, iconic Texas ranches, and more. 

    Thursday, June 16, 6:00 p.m. CST
    The History of Austin Black Freedom Communities
    Presenters: Funmi Ogunro and Rachel Winston
    Platform: Zoom (Registrants will receive the link to the event via email closer to the event date)
    Cost: Free

    Join Funmi Ogunro (film director and editor) and Rachel Winston (producer and archivist) for a discussion on the history of Austin's Black Freedom Communities. Austin Black Freedom Communities are communities built by former enslaved African Americans after the civil war ended in 1865. These communities were built with little resources from the ground up and included churches, schools, and stores. In the 1920s, these same people were displaced from the communities they built because of discriminatory city mandates. Today, these regions are some of Austin’s most prominent neighborhoods, and the legacy of Black people has been overlooked. There were over 15 freedom communities located in Austin and throughout Travis County. Check out a map that lists some of the communities here.

    The team is currently producing a feature-length documentary about Austin Black Freedom Communities.  Funmi Ogunro, a native Austinite, states "Growing up, I did not know Austin’s Black history because it has not been well documented. Through this film, I am going to change that for future generations and bring light to the resilience of Black people, their resourcefulness in creating strong communities, and their important contribution to the development of the city of Austin, Texas." To learn more and support the film, visit

    Pictured: Brackenridge Elementary. South Side Freedom Community - Early 1900s. Photo from Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.