The state's first synagogue, Beth Israel, was founded in 1859 in Houston by 32 young, mostly immigrant men. At least six of the men owned slaves, “though most only owned one as a house servant,” according to the Institute for Southern Jewish life. Just one. But still an enslaved person. Owned. You can find old post cards showing “Negroes” picking cotton in or near Houston, 1914, 1920, and you would swear you were looking at a picture of antebellum life.