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CURTIS, STEPHEN (ca. 1806–?). Stephen Curtis, a black politician in the Reconstruction era, was born into slavery around 1806 in Virginia. He was skilled in carpentry. He was living in Brazos County in 1867, when he served as a delegate to the Republican state convention in Houston, where he was a member of the Platform and Resolutions Committee. He reportedly armed himself after a threat on his life. Curtis was elected to the Constitutional Convention of 1868–69 and served on the Committee on Immigration. He voted for the division of Texas into more than one state and unsuccessfully introduced a resolution to investigate Ku Klux Klan activities. Curtis was one of five black delegates who signed the document produced by the convention. He also helped establish a special committee to investigate racial violence that occurred in 1868 at Millican in Brazos County. The 1870 national census reported that Curtis, who could neither read nor write, lived in a household in Brazos County with five other adults and four children, all named Curtis.


J. Mason Brewer, Negro Legislators of Texas and Their Descendants (Dallas: Mathis, 1935; 2d ed., Austin: Jenkins, 1970). Merline Pitre, Through Many Dangers, Toils and Snares: The Black Leadership of Texas, 1868–1900 (Austin: Eakin, 1985). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Paul M. Lucko

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Paul M. Lucko, "CURTIS, STEPHEN," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed December 02, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.