Creole France

Free People of Color
Creoles of Color in Antebellum Louisiana

Edmunde DeDe

World famous Violinist

Creole of color
Creole Historian
The Louisiana Mexican connection
Gens de Couleur Libre
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Throughout the colonial and antebellum periods, the Creoles of Color had existed as a separate class, distinct from the dominant whites as well as from the slaves.

Although they did not enjoy full citizenship rights and privileges, they did have considerably more rights and privileges than the servile population. During the Civil War, as portions of the state came under Union control, the gens de couleur libre attempted to maintain the three-tier social system that guaranteed them separate status.

Union officials, however, were unwilling to recognize this distinction and insisted on treating all persons of African ancestry as members of a single class. This monolithic view of nonwhites was institutionalized by the black codes that followed the war's end.

Once they accepted the realities of their new situation, the Creoles of Color determined that if they were to be classed with the freedmen they would be the social and political leaders of their race (Vincent 17).

They reasoned that because they had experienced the problems of being free in a white man's world, were educated, and were property owners, they had earned the right to leadership.

It is hardly surprising, then, that the Creoles of Color, who constituted a small minority of the African-American population in south-central Louisiana, occupied a disproportionately large number of political positions and wielded a disproportionately large amount of political influence in the Reconstruction era.


Creoles of Color in the Bayou Country
by Carl A. Brasseaux,
Keith P. Fontenot,
and Claude F. Oubr


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