The mission of the Convict Leasing and Labor Project is to expose the history and ongoing impact of the convict leasing system and its connection to modern prison slavery while restoring the dignity of all victims of forced labor and their descendants.
The Convict Leasing and Labor Project aims to lead a national conversation on the history and impact of forced labor, including chattel slavery, convict leasing, and the modern crisis of mass incarceration. In pursuit of this goal we plan to:
Partner with public scholars, community activists, descendants, and research institutions to properly memorialize the convict lease prisoners whose graves were uncovered at a FBISD construction site in 2018.
Facilitate scholarship on convict leasing by serving as a foundational resource for researchers and academic institutions.
Educate the public about the history of forced labor, including chattel slavery, convict leasing, and modern prison slavery.
Identify the victims of convict leasing and their descendants to restore the dignity of those victimized by this heinous system.
Hold accountable all those individuals, institutions, and governmental agencies that benefited or continue to benefit from convict leasing.
Pursue racial reconciliation and healing through social and financial reparations for the descendants of all victims of forced labor.
Support prison reform activists and organizations dedicated to ending mass incarceration and modern prison slavery.
Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP
Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP
Reginald Moore was an historian with a certification in Community Economic Development from the College of Biblical Studies. He was also a community activist and had a particular interest in prison reform and prison re-entry. Mr. Moore worked for decades to gain recognition for the past abuses associated with Sugar Land's convict leasing system. He served as a correctional officer in the Texas Department of Corrections from 1985 to 1988. While working in the Beauford H. Jester I and III Units, a prison farm located in unincorporated Fort Bend County, Mr. Moore became interested in the history of the Flanagan House (the former warden's house) and then in the prison's Central Unit. Over time, this interest grew and became a major research area for Mr. Moore, who went on to found and chair the Texas Slave Descendants' Society (TSDS) in the early 2000's. He founded the Convict Leasing and Labor Project (CLLP) in 2018. His research materials are archived at the Woodson Research Center at Rice University.
Reginald Moore championed nearly three decades of activism on the issue of convict leasing. Throughout the years, he highlighted the importance of education. He spoke numerous times at the Texas State Board of Education about the need to implement a more inclusive curriculum. His work has been recognized by the state of Texas House of Representatives in 2019. Local, national, and even international media has covered the story of his advocacy for the Sugar Land 95.
"The cemetery was found because of Reginald Moore’s advocacy and dedication to the history of convict lease labor in the area… We are very pleased to continue to have the historical expertise of Mr. Moore from the Convict Leasing and Labor Project. He has been a long-time advocate of memorialization and education concerning this dark period of the state’s history. We believe that no one can speak ‘for the bones’ of these individuals with more passion and accuracy than Mr. Moore."
In 2019, Reginald Moore and Hanna Kim were selected as Open Society Foundations' Soros Equality Fellows. They dedicated to making the complex history of convict leasing accessible to the public through the portrayal of the story of the “Sugar Land 95,” the remains of 95 African American convict laborers discovered in Sugar Land, Texas in 2018.
Reginald Moore went home to be with the Lord in July 2020. (Official statement)
Open Society Foundations
An exhibit on Sugar Land Convict Leasing created by HART Summer 2015 students at Rice University
We provide educational outreach on the history of slavery, convict leasing, and forced labor.
Our past engagements include: symposium at Rice University, conference at Tougaloo College, and lecture at University of Texas at Austin and Harvard University. See more of our events here, and invite us to speak!
We work with local, state, and national officials to seek recognition of the government's role in convict leasing.
We fight for the dignified reburial and memorialization of the Sugar Land 95. We bring the community together by organizing events on Juneteenth and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
We build support for the creation of a national museum on convict leasing.
Our inspirations include: EJI's National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, and the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum.
We are members of the community concerned about the discovery and desecration of the Sugar Land 95. We are emboldened by Mr. Reginald Moore's advocacy and stand to amplify our voices with his. Our current board members include Jay Jenkins, Steve Brown, Liz Peterson, Portia Hopkins, and Naomi Reed. We are currently seeking volunteers and collaborators to join us in our mission to shine the light on convict leasing and memorialize the Sugar Land 95.