Rosalind Alexander-Kasparik recalls stories about her family farm as she sits in a rocking chair on the porch of the house she grew up in. Credit: Lauren Witte/The Texas Tribune

Decades after Texas took part of its historic farm, a family fights again to save its land from a highway expansion

Daniel Alexander was enslaved when he founded a farm before the Civil War. 175 years later, his family is fighting to keep it intact as Texas plans to expand U.S. Highway 183.

25 mins read
Rosalind Alexander-Kasparik brings flowers to her parents’ grave at the family cemetery on their land, which has been passed down across several generations. The family is now fighting a highway-widening plan that could call for forcibly buying some of the land. Credit: Lauren Witte/The Texas Tribune

BY TIMIA COBB, Texas Tribune, texastribune.org

First: Rosalind Alexander-Kasparik says she feels at home by her sister Jennifer Fern’s grave in a cemetery on the family property. Credit: Lauren Witte/The Texas Tribune

he’s hoping that the historic nature of the property will divert TxDOT from forcibly buying any more of the land. Black-owned farms are increasingly rare in America. Her ancestor Daniel Alexander’s founding of the farm in 1847 was almost unheard of because his enslavers agreed to give him ownership even though he remained enslaved. The fact that it has been passed down through the family across so many generations since 1847 makes it a rarity — and a product of carefully maintained history that’s still present and operating today.

Alexander-Kasparik picks up trash that has flown into the cemetery. If TxDOT’s highway expansion project moves forward, it would intrude into the family cemetery. Credit: Lauren Witte/The Texas Tribune

The beginning of a legacy

Trees decorate an area of the cemetery where the the Alexander family believes there are more than 50 unmarked graves. Credit: Lauren Witte/The Texas Tribune

Losing in 1968

Rosalind Alexander-Kasparik’s calf longhorn “Rosie, Too” stays in a separate feeding area from the older cattle to ensure she gets a fair share of food. Credit: Lauren Witte/The Texas Tribune

Trying isn’t enough

Standing steps from the gate that separates the homes on the land from the farm animals, Alexander-Kasparik explains the process of the family’s milk production, which ceased after the milking barn burned down in 1970. Credit: Lauren Witte/The Texas Tribune
Rosalind Alexander-Kasparik recalls stories about her family farm as she sits in a rocking chair on the porch of the house she grew up in. Credit: Lauren Witte/The Texas Tribune

An uncertain future

The parents of Rosalind Alexander-Kasparik share a grave together in the Alexander family cemetery. Credit: Lauren Witte for The Texas Tribune

Honoring ancestors

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