History Department
History Department

María Esther Hammack

M.A. Atlantic World History; B.A. History | Honors College, East Carolina University

Doctoral Candidate
María Esther Hammack



Black Women Freedom Fighters, Black Liberation Across Borderlands, African Diaspora, Mexico, Black life in Texas, Slavery in Texas and Mexico, Anti-Slavery and Abolition in Mexico


Maria Esther Hammack is a doctoral candidate in the department of History at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her B.A. in History and an M.A. in Atlantic World History from East Carolina University. She is a historian learning about Black Women freedom fighters, the Underground Railroad & the African Diaspora in North America. Her work recovers and documents little known histories of Black women who engineered self liberation and journeys to escape US enslavement and reach Mexican freedom destinations. Maria centers Black Women, their roles and legacies in the development of frontier spaces such as Texas to (1) investigate how they shaped liberation and abolition in the Lone Star State and to (2) reincorporate their narratives as consequential in Texas' history and memory. 
Her dissertation under the direction of Professor Daina Ramey Berry, “South of Slavery: Enslaved and Free Black Exodus in a Global Frontier, Mexico, The United States, and Beyond, 1790-1868,” traces the liberation practices and geographic journeys of escapees and migrants who crossed the Mexico-US borderlands seeking freedom destinations South and Southwest of US slavery. Her study covers US-Mexico frontier spaces where slavery and freedom intertwined including Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Furthermore, Maria documents Mexico's process of abolition and anti-slavery efforts through an in-depth examination of Mexican congressional, governmental, and diplomatic records and correspondence in order to understand how Mexico became (or failed to become) a safe haven for enslaved and free Black persons fleeing the United States.
Trained as a social historian, Maria's work aims to present and acknowledge freedom seekers turned border crossers, their lived-experiences, contributions, how they shaped freedom, abolition and community across the spaces they traversed and settled. Maria is a transnational scholar who seeks to advance initiatives that link scholarly research, pedagogy, digital and public history. 
Follow her on Twitter: @LorienTinuviel 


Website, A Historian's Journey


The Fourth Part of the World