African American leader Norris Wright Cuney forged a remarkable career in post-Civil War Texas. Born into slavery in 1846, he nonetheless studied law and became a civic and political force in the years following Reconstruction. Following the Civil War, Cuney moved to the bustling port city of Galveston, then Texas's most cosmopolitan city. Over the course of his career, he served as city alderman, collector of customs, and school inspector for Galveston County. Cuney used his education, political connections, and wealth to improve the lives of formerly enslaved people in Texas.