SAN ANTONIO – The handwritten documents, many dating back to the 1800′s, before and after the Civil War, are emotionally hard to read.
Bexar County Clerk Lucy Adame-Clark memorized one of the first documents she saw in a bill of sale, “Negro woman, healthy in body, ready to be delivered.”
“That was very emotional,” she said. “I felt it in my soul and my heart.”
Yet, it’s for that reason, Adame-Clark said that people should see the words for themselves.
“The public needs to see this. The public needs to see the truth,” she said.
Some of the documents are on display at the Bexar County Courthouse,
The exhibit, “Slavery and Emancipation in Bexar County,” will be on display throughout Dreamweek until Jan. 29.
Adame-Clark said her office has volumes of historical documents detailing the sales of enslaved men, women and children, probate documents declaring slave owners as guardians to get around emancipation, and legal filings regarding two enslaved men who had escaped twice to Mexico, where slavery was outlawed and were later recaptured.
“There’s so much history of the enslavement in our records,” Adame-Clark said.
Among them, what’s believed to be the last sale of an enslaved man in Bexar County.
“Two months after the end of the Civil War, but five days before Juneteeth,” said Bexar County Archivist David Carlson, Ph.D.
Adame-Clarke said many of the records have been digitized or they can be viewed at the Bexar County Clerk’s Office.