From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Beck, Thomas

(born: 1819  -  died: 1894) 

Thomas Beck was slave born in Caldwell County, Kentucky, and one of his parents was white, the other African American. [Kentucky is given as his birth location in the 1850 U.S. Census.] Gaining his freedom and moving to Texas, Thomas Beck became a politician and served in the Texas House of Representatives, beginning in 1874. One of the bills he sponsored was to prevent the employment of children without the permission of the parents. In 1882, he introduced the bill that allowed appropriations for Prairie View State Normal School [now Prairie View A & M University] to coninue operating. Thomas Beck served in the 14th, 16th-17th Texas Legislature [source: Early History of Grimes County by E. L. Blair, p.206]. Thomas Beck was the husband of Martha Jordan Beck from Tennessee [source: 1880 U.S. Federal Census], and the couple had nine children. It is thought that Thomas Beck died around 1894. For more see Through Many Dangers, Toils and Snares: The Black Leadership of Texas, 1868-1900, by M. Pitre; and Thomas Beck (1819 c.1894), an online article at, 02/16/2011.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Caldwell County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Early history of Grimes County
NKAA Source: Through many dangers, toils and snares: the Black leadership of Texas, 1868-1900

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Beck, Thomas,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 27, 2019,

Last modified: 2017-09-13 21:02:43