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About us and this project

We are David Huenlich and Ashley Davis. David is a German linguist, lecturer and historian-in-training , and Ashley is a preschool teacher and aficionada of African American history. Our family has roots in Germany and in Texas. In 2015, we conducted interviews in communities of Central Texas for the Texas German Dialect Project at UT Austin. "There were black German speakers here, too!" was a line that we repeatedly heard along the way. Very likely, a black woman speaking German brought back memories...

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But what exactly were these people remembering? We decided to find out. The stories we collected lead to a larger project on "The History of Afro-German Relations and Black German Speakers in Texas". It was supported by the Leibniz-Institute for the German Language. In 2021, the German Academic Exchange Service funded David to pursue a project hosted by Walter Kamphoefner at the History Department of Texas A&M University. The Catholic University of Eichstätt in Germany supported the completion of the project in 2023. This website about "Afro-German Texas" is an exhibition for anyone who  would like to learn more about the topic. A network of generous contributors who  supported the project is listed below.


The following contributors generously shared their knowledge about their community, toured the area with us and provided us with many valuable contacts. Black German speakers are listed separately in the biographies section. 

Myrtle Swearington &
Ken Blezinger

Residents near New Bremen, Austin County

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W.O. Exner & B. J. Spencer

Former Mayor of Lexington

Resident of Moab Community

Lilly May Davis & Linda Madison

Mother & daughter living in New Bremen, Austin County

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David Collins

Local Expert of Fayette and Lee County

Herbert Kollatschny

Local Expert of Austin County

Jim Kearney

Lecturer of History at UT Austin

Local Expert of Colorado County

Paul Phillips III, MD

Local Expert of Gillespie County

Mike Rehling

Owner of the Goebel Store

Resident near Center Union

Karen Washington

Mount Olive Baptist Church

Former resident of Armstrong Colony in Fayette County.

Institutional Support

This project would also not have been possible without the research support of individuals at various institutions. 


Walter was among the earliest historians to examine Afro-German relations in Texas, and he  generously hosted us at the TAMU History Department. Bill from the A&M libraries collected countless peculiarities on ethnic relations in Texas from 19th century newspapers. He generously shared his research.

Walter Kamphoefner

Texas A&M University,

Department of History

William Page

Texas A&M University,


Cheryl DaBera, Tina Henderson,
Charles Swenson, JoAnn Wolf

"Texas 10" Network at the Brenham Heritage Museum

The members and affiliates of the "Texas 10" network are actively researching African American history in Washington County and are carrying on the spirit of the late Judge Eddie Harrison   - a strong advocate for a better understanding of ethnic relations in his community.  The Network is affiliated with the Brenham Heritage Museum and everyone in Brenham supported us generously. 


Hans and his team have been an invaluable source of archival information over the years. Margo also helped with this website.

Hans C. Boas
Margo Blevins

The Texas German Dialect Project, The Department of Germanic Studies, The University of Texas at Austin

Rox Ann Johnson
Judy Pate

Rox Ann provided us with images illustrating Afro-German relations in the vicinity of La Grange, and helped us access original letters. She also provided contacts to relatives of late speakers of German and Czech in local Black communities .

Judy Pate from the Arnim Museum in Flatonia connected us to members of the Armstrong colony and provided us with newspapers illustrating historic relations between Black, German and Czech members of her community.

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