Shankleville, Texas

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Unincorporated community
Shankleville is located in Texas
Shankleville is located in the United States
Coordinates: 30°58′13″N 93°42′25″W / 30.97028°N 93.70694°W / 30.97028; -93.70694Coordinates: 30°58′13″N 93°42′25″W / 30.97028°N 93.70694°W / 30.97028; -93.70694
CountryUnited States
217 ft (66 m)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
GNIS feature ID1380524[1]

Shankleville is an unincorporated community in Newton County, Texas, United States.[1] It was founded as a Freedmen's town,[2] one of over 500 such “freedom colonies”[3] in Texas.[4]


Shankleville was founded in 1867 by James "Jim" and Winnie (Brush) Shankle, the first African Americans to purchase land and become leaders of the settlement after Emancipation. It was named in honor of the two leaders, the 3rd Paternal great-grandparents to NFL Hall of Fame Defensive End Michael Strahan. This was confirmed through research done by the show Finding Your Roots. James and Winnie Shankle's son-in-law, Stephen McBride, was a co-founder who helped to develop the town. Shankleville was one of ten freedmen's settlements established in Newton County following the Civil War, including Biloxi, Cedar Grove, Galloway, Huff Creek, Indian Hills, Jamestown, Liberty, Pleasant Hill and St. John.[5]

The Shankles bought "a league" of land[6] and invited other families to live and create businesses there, amassing land holdings over 4,000 acres.[7] "Shankleville began as a rural community where African-Americans could live and farm their own land away from the violence of white supremacist activities, the strictures of segregation, and the economic enslavement of sharecropping, or working for less than subsistence wages as domestic servants and in other menial jobs," the U.S. Department of the Interior notes in its National Register of Historic Places designation of Shankleville's Addie L. and A.T. Odom Homestead.[5]

At Shankleville, a single family—the related Shankle-McBride clan—had unusual financial resources that they initially used to purchase land early on, which fostered the development of the community (Handbook of Texas Online: “Freedmen’s Settlements”). [8] At its peak, Shankleville is thought to have housed about 75 families.[5] The settlement prospered and included schools, churches, cotton gins, saw mills, grist mills, sugarcane mills, stores, and blacksmith shops.[9]

McBride College was a two-story structure which operated from 1883 to 1909. Named after Stephen McBride, the school also served as a community center and town hall. During summer, teachers came to attend training conferences and seminars. When school was not in session, McBride College was also used to host revivals featuring traveling preachers.[10] Good Morning America host and retired NFL player Michael Strahan is a descendant of Jim and Winnie Shankle.[11]

Preservation and Conservation[edit]

The descendants of Shankleville are involved in historic research, community preservation,[12] and family genealogy.[13] Annual homecomings have been held since 1941 on the first weekend of August each year.[14][15]

The Shankleville Historical Society was founded in 1988 to "preserve the heritage", "document the history", and "propagate the legacy" of Shankleville. The society hosts many cultural events in honor of Shankleville, including the annual Texas Purple Hull Pea Festival[16][17] which celebrated its sesquicentennial homecoming in 2017. The festival features cultural events commemorating different historical aspects of the settlement. Purple-hull peas were a historic cash crop and a staple of the local economy.[18](subscription required)[19][20][21][22][23]


  1. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Shankleville
  2. ^ "African Americans In Texas: A Lasting Legacy" (PDF). Texas Historical Commission.
  3. ^ "Addie L. & A.T. Odom Homestead - Preservation Texas". Retrieved 2018-08-06.
  5. ^ a b c National Park Service, NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES (05/31/2012). "United States Department of the Interior" (PDF). United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service: NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. ^ "Confronting Urban Design's Diversity Crisis With a Return to Black Places". Retrieved 2018-07-14.
  7. ^ "Your Family Tree". Houston Chronicle. 2004-06-19. Retrieved 2018-08-06.
  8. ^ "Overreached on all sides: the Freedmen's Bureau administrators in Texas, 1865-1868". Choice Reviews Online. 29 (11): 29–6511-29-6511. 1992-07-01. doi:10.5860/choice.29-6511. ISSN 0009-4978.
  9. ^ ROBERT, WOOSTER, (2010-06-15). "SHANKLEVILLE, TX". Retrieved 2018-07-14.
  10. ^, Frank Dutton -. "Shankleville History - Newton County Texas". Retrieved 2018-07-14.
  11. ^ "S5 E5: Freedom Tales | Finding Your Roots". PBS SoCal. 2016-10-17. Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  12. ^ "shankleville Texas historical society presents purple hull pea festival 2014". Scrumptious Chef. 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  13. ^ Johnson, Brittney (February 2014). "The Community That Love Built: Shankleville" (PDF). Deep East Texas Electric Co-Op.
  14. ^ Texas Historical Commission (2015-09-17), Shankleville's Homecoming, retrieved 2018-07-14
  15. ^ "Upcoming Events Purple Hull Pea Festival & Symposium, Shankleville Texas". Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  16. ^ Andrea Roberts (2014-06-26), Purple Hull Pea Festival Held at Settlement Founded by Ex-Slaves in Shankleville, TX., retrieved 2018-07-14
  17. ^ 12NewsNow (2018-06-24), 12News pea competition in honor of the 'Texas Purple Hull Pea Festival' in Shankleville, retrieved 2018-07-14
  18. ^ "Fifth annual Purple Hull Pea Festival gets underway on Friday". The Lufkin News. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  19. ^ "Purple Hull Pea Festival is June 25th!". Edible Houston. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  20. ^ "Texas Purple Hull Pea Festival is Coming to a Community Near You". The Newton County News. Retrieved 2018-07-14.
  21. ^ "Turn out good for Texas Purple Hull Pea Festival in Shankleville". KJAS.COM. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  22. ^ "Texas Purple Hull Pea Festival w/ Sis Lareatha Clay". BlogTalkRadio. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  23. ^ Bashaw, Robert (June 19, 2016). "TEXAS PURPLE HULL PEA FESTIVAL - JUNE 27TH". East Texas Press.

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