Kelly Ray

Slaves of Houston from Steamboat Arrival to Emancipation

Kelly Ray earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in Education from the University of South Florida (Tampa) and a M.A. in History from the University of Houston with her thesis, “Houston in Chains: Slaves and Free Blacks in the Texas Courts, 1845-1867.”

Her professional career primarily has been as a museum educator in historical museums such as the Kentucky Derby Museum, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and Fort Bend Museum Association. With an avid interest in African American History, she was instrumental in the Kentucky Derby Museum’s statewide educational outreach program, African Americans in Thoroughbred Racing, which gained national attention from N.P.R. coverage and an Outstanding Public Humanities Project Award from the Kentucky Humanities Council.

At Colonial Williamsburg, she participated on the Enslaving Virginia Storyline Team, developing staff training and a foundation-wide interpretive program that became an integral part of visitors’ Historic Area experience.

She currently resides in South Bend, Indiana with her husband (a museum director for The History Museum) and two children, where she continues to conduct independent research on Houston’s black community prior to 1870.

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