• courtesy of the Museum of the Big Bend •

Sul Ross State University’s Museum of the Big Bend will present The Upshaws of County Line: An American Family beginning Friday, Jan. 18.  The exhibition will feature black and white photographs from Richard Orton who spent 25 years documenting life in the East Texas African-American community of County Line.  Known as a “freedom colony,” County Line was founded in the 1880s by the Upshaw brothers, Guss, Felix, and Jim, as they and their families sought to create a community of their own in the Antebellum South.

An opening night reception from 6-8 p.m. will feature Orton as well as County Line descendants Beatrice Upshaw and her daughter Elia Ali.

At 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19, SRSU Assistant Professor of History Dr. Savannah Williamson will join Orton, Upshaw, and Ali for a spirited discussion covering post-Civil War freedom colonies, daily life in County Line, and the photo-documentary process.  Orton will have his book The Upshaws of County Line: An American Family available for purchase.

Organized by Stephen F. Austin State University, The Upshaws of County Line: An American Family will be free and open to the public.  The exhibit will remain on display until March 24.