In response to the trouble the Indian slaves were giving the settlers, a call went out to bring African Slaves to New Orleans. In 1719, a mere year later, the first 2 shiploads of African Slaves arrive at the port of New Orleans, for sale in New Orleans.
Napoleon also used the port for a respite for the slaves and crew after the trip from Africa to give the crew a chance to clean and re-outfit the ships for the trip to Haiti. Slaves are given their first chance to stretch out on dry land. Some would be sold here. Most were held in the slave pens on what is now Camp street.
Throughout the 146 years until the end of the civil war, the concept of contribution of services to the collective, served to form tight knit groups on the plantations and in the young city. Much of African traditions survived the time of bondage in the delta region of Louisiana, because to the live and let live approach to slavery that the French took towards the practice.
That approach enabled enterprising slaves to come up with ways to earn money and consequently earn enough to buy their freedom. For the Africans that accomplished this, they struggled to learned trades and elevated the trades into finely homed art. Some were considered the finest skilled tradesman in their fields in the entire south. In some cases, as a testament to how well they had taken their craft, even their former masters and foremen (overseers) came to call upon them, for their considerable skills.
In 1783, the Treaty of Paris is signed by the victorious United States and the defeated Great Britain, and it is the very skilled tradesmen who were now former slaves, in the colonies, that took the lead to train and integrate many into the new emerging society they still had to serve. The concept which had guided the Africans since birth was allowed to once again come to the surface and guide these men and women into service for their people.
In March of that year, The Perseverance Benevolent & Mutual Aid Association is formed as the first of hundreds of such organizations.
The Association became the cornerstone of most of the African American Social clubs, Ball Only clubs and Carnival Organizations. It is based on the principles taught in Africa of coming together, especially in times of need, for the collective good.
Several other smaller Mutual Aid Associations were unofficially recorded, but were nothing near the size of the original. The one thing the P.B.M.A.A. could not do, was to bury as many as they wished.
It was not until just after the Civil War on April 9 1865 that the final aspect truthfully came into existence, in any real sense. In the late 19th century the African American community was set free as a whole, in New Orleans, by the emancipation proclamation. The U.S. government ordered all those slaves to be integrated into society, and "educated". The "southerners", fought this tooth and nail, fearing an, "educated black population", would learn to plot and subrogate them. The south was so slow that action was taken to remedy the problem in black hands!
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