Creole women then and now.... good link



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Gens de Couleur Libre


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Video Clips on the Louisiana Free People of Color...Click here to watch the entire series

The Louisiana Antebellum Free Person or Color



The "free persons of color" are found in French colonial Louisiana as early as 1725. on August 14, 1725 Jean Raphael, a free Negro from Martinique, married MarieGaspart from Brugues in Flanders.

On November 27, 1727, Jean Mingo, free Negro, married Therese, a Negro slave belonging to M. de Cantillo with permission of plantation manager Darby.

From then on church records and civil archives mention the presence of the free persons of color.

Some entered the colony as free people, some were freed in recognition or merit and loyalty. Some had been slaves, but had been given freedom by their white lover or parent; some had purchased their freedom by extra work during leisure hours.

According to the Code Noir, the free person of color had the rights of any citizen of French Louisiana, except for marriage with and legacies from whites.

In a society where a black slave could sue a white the position of the free person of color was more solid indeed. Yet the social pressure of custom maintained the superior position of the white over the person of color however free and "equal."

During the Spanish regime, easy emancipation prevailed and the free population of color continued to grow. In the Spanish era (1766-1803) the free Negro enjoyed a lively social life in New Orleans. The city's first theater had mulatto stars.

The average white accepted this middle layer of society between himself and the black slaves, and dealt easily with its members. Yet the white population had two complaints.

They suspected that the free mulatto might promote slave discontent and revolt. They admired the beauty of the café-au-lait quadroons and octaroons, but felt that the liaisons constantly undermined the morals of young white males.

Revolution in Saint-Domingue sent refugees fleeing to Louisiana, white and black and mixed, slave and free, young and old. Cuba also sent emigrants to New Orleans in the first decade of the nineteenth century.

In 1812 Louisiana's Battalion of Free Men of Color was unique in theUnited States, the "only Negro volunteer militia with its own line officers."

Andrew Jackson welcomed the free Negro troops who fought heroically at the Battle of New Orleans (1815). The state legislature gratefully praised their patriotism and bravery.



South American liberator

Simon Bolivar

What Bolivar had to say of the New World People !!

At the Congress of Angostura in 1819, liberator Simon Bolivar the elected president of Venezuela planned a strategy that would

free the Americas of European domination. He also found it necessary to clarify America’s racial heritage:

" It is impossible to say to which human family we belong.The larger part of the Native population has disappeared, Europeans have mixed with the Indians and the Negroes, and Negroes have mixed with the Indians."

We were all born of one mother America, though our fathers had different origins, and we all have differently colored skins. This dissimilarity is of the greatest significance.”









Political discrimination did not block financial power. Several persons
of color amassed outstanding fortunes, particularly in real estate. However, the vast majority of ethnic and social middle group lived by arduous toil in trades.

Most typical were the occupations of tailor, barber, carpenter, mason, cigar maker, shoemaker and hack driver. Without ever according political equality the Louisiana Supreme Court steadily protected the middle position of the free persons of color against the more militant whites.

In the ante bellum era, a recent study concludes, "free Negroes in Louisiana can be considered as possessing the status of quasi-citizenship and as such enjoyed a better position than any of their counterparts in other states of the South."

Yet the free man of color continued to be denied legal suffrage, the right to run for public office, and made the subject of discriminatory legislation because of his color.


As the abolitionist movement intensified, feeling against the free persons of color increased. The fear of slave rebellion was ever present, and the free Negro was, in the mind of the dominant but slightly outnumbered race, the most likely leader of any such uprising.

Thus between 1830 and 1860 social pressure and legislative action increased against emancipations, against immigration of free Negroes, and in favor of colonizing resident free Negroes out of the state. Finally in 1857 legislation was passed putting an end completely to manumissions in Louisiana.

During the Civil War three regiments of men of color in New Orleans were the only organized Negro soldiery on the Confederate side." With what freedom and under what pressure they enlisted is not clear.

Overconfident Louisiana leaders dismissed these militiamen as not needed. After the Federals took New Orleans in 1862, the city's men of color, jointly with newly freed slaves, composed the first colored regiment of the Federal army.

Louisiana furnished more colored troops for the war than any other State, but the majority of them were freedmen, who in the general population far outnumbered the free person of color. (f.p.c.)







Australian Creole








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