Seeking Appropriate Commemoration
Since forming the Texas Slave Descendants Society (TSDS) in the early 2000’s, Reginald Moore, Chairman of the Board, has relentlessly worked to gain recognition for the past abuses associated with Sugar Land’s convict leasing system. In the eyes of TSDS, while convict leasing itself was an injustice, the lack of recognition of the practice is a continuance of injustice.
Since the disproportionate majority of those in the convict leasing program were black males, their absence negatively affected the local black community, as many children grew up without the guiding influence and financial contributions of their fathers. This effect can be felt years later, as the lack of paternal influence extends through the generations and often resulted in an economic deprivation for the families involved. For this reason, TSDS believes that those who engaged in convict leasing should give descendants of convict lessees reparations as a way to make up for the absence of fathers that the system created. Mr. Moore hopes that this restitution money would help fund prison exit programs in the modern prison context.
TSDS desires an apology from official actors, such as the State of Texas, the City of Sugar Land, and the Imperial Sugar Company, to recognize the wrongdoing that occurred. All three of these actors played a part in the convict leasing system in Sugar Land, though Sugar Land was not incorporated at the time, and all three actors benefitted from the existence of the system. At the same time, no one actor was fully responsible for the system and its resulting injustices. Mr. Moore has tirelessly pursued an apology from all of these actors, but has often been referred to another official entity in a swirl of bureaucracy.