Mr. Speaker, born in South Carolina in 1810, Sam McCulloch, Jr.arrived in Texas with his father and three sisters just prior to the Texas War for Independence from Mexico.

McCulloch was a free black, and with his freedom he volunteered as a private in the Texas Army to fight for independence. On October 9, 1835, McCulloch took part in the Battle of Goliad. While storming the Mexican line, McCulloch was severely wounded when a musket ball shattered his right shoulder. Thus, Samuel McCulloch, Jr. became the first Texas casualty of the war.

After Texas won its independence and became a free Republic, Samuel McCulloch, Jr. went on to fight against the Comanches along with the Texas Rangers at the famous Battle of Plum Creek, and he served as a spy for the Texas Army when Mexico reinvaded Texas in 1842. Later, McCulloch lived as a farmer and a rancher with his family on the land that the Texas government gave him for his service to the Republic.

He died in November of 1893. He triumphed over all obstacles and voluntarily risked life and limb to establish freedom for Texas, the land he loved. During Black History Month, we honor this freedom fighter and this first to shed blood for Texas independence.

And that's just the way it is.