New History Finally Recognizes Afro-Creole Spiritualists

Posted in Articles, History, Interviews, Louisiana, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2022-05-13 01:23Z by Steven

New History Finally Recognizes Afro-Creole Spiritualists

Religion Dispatches
2016-09-20

Paul Harvey, Distinguished Professor of History
University of Colorado

“Ladder of Progress,” a drawing added to the archive of the Cercle Harmonique by René Grandjean, the circle’s first archivist.

Emily Clark’s new work, A Luminous Brotherhood, is an extensive study of a subject that has weirdly been neglected in scholarship: the career of the Afro-Creole Spiritualist Cercle Harmonique from 1858 to 1877. Religious studies scholar Clark has thoroughly mined the records of the Cercle, kept at the University of New Orleans, and produced one of the most important recent works I have seen in race and religion in American history.

By focusing on Afro-Creole Spiritualism in New Orleans, we get an extended, as well as intimate, look at how one very particular group, mostly men and free people of color, envisioned their ideal society through the voices of spirit mediums.

In doing so, they drew from French thinkers and historical experiences (including everyone from Rousseau, Robespierre, and Lamennais to the French and Haitian Revolutions), and applied those to the construction of what they referred to as “the Idea”—a republican society that would achieve liberty, equality and fraternity even in an American society burdened by slavery and racism since its birth.

I had a conversation with Clark, reflecting both on the book as well as on broader questions of race, religion and politics…

Read the entire interview here.

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How a slave’s daughter became an 1800s New Orleans entrepreneur: A Marigny cottage helps tell the tale

Posted in Articles, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Women on 2022-05-12 17:43Z by Steven

How a slave’s daughter became an 1800s New Orleans entrepreneur: A Marigny cottage helps tell the tale

NOLA.com
2022-05-09

Mike Scott, Contributing Writer

The house at 1515-17 Pauger St. in New Orleans sold in 2016 for $600,000.
(Photo by David Grunfeld, NOLA.com |The Times-Picayune)

The little Creole cottage at 1515-17 Pauger St. in the Marigny Triangle is a humble one. Small and tidy, there would have been little to distinguish it from the countless other homes like it in New Orleans when it was built 200 years ago.

But sometimes a house is more than a house. Sometimes, the story it has to tell adds a little flavor to what it has to offer.

That’s precisely the case with the Pauger Street house, which stands out today as a beautifully preserved example of the bricks-between-posts construction — or briquette-entre-poteaux — so common during the city’s French colonial era.

Much more than that, although, the little home represents the indomitable spirit of the lady of shade who, in opposition to all odds, constructed it — presumably as a rental property, no much less — at a time wherein being White and male had been two of an important {qualifications} for such endeavors…

Read the entire article here.

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The Journey to Separate but Equal: Madame Decuir’s Quest for Racial Justice in the Reconstruction Era

Posted in Books, History, Law, Louisiana, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2022-03-22 19:31Z by Steven

The Journey to Separate but Equal: Madame Decuir’s Quest for Racial Justice in the Reconstruction Era

University Press of Kansas
April 2021
256 pages
Hardback ISBN: ISBN 978-0-7006-3183-4

Jack M. Beermann, Professor of Law and Harry Elwood Warren Scholar
Boston University School of Law

In The Journey to Separate but Equal: Madame Decuir’s Quest for Racial Justice in the Reconstruction Era, Jack Beermann tells the story of how, in Hall v. Decuir, the post–Civil War US Supreme Court took its first step toward perpetuating the subjugation of the non-White population of the United States by actively preventing a Southern state from prohibiting segregation on a riverboat in the coasting trade on the Mississippi River. The Journey to Separate but Equal offers the first complete exploration of Hall v. Decuir, with an in-depth look at the case’s record; the lives of the parties, lawyers, and judges; and the case’s social context in 1870s Louisiana. The book centers around the remarkable story of Madame Josephine Decuir and the lawsuit she pursued because she had been illegally barred from the cabin reserved for White women on the Governor Allen riverboat.

The drama of Madame Decuir’s fight against segregation’s denial of her dignity as a human and particularly as a woman enriches our understanding of the Reconstruction era, especially in Louisiana, including political and legal changes that occurred during that time and the plight of people of color who were freed from slavery but denied their dignity and rights as American citizens. Hall v. Decuir spanned the pivotal period of 1872–1878, during which White segregationist Democrats “redeemed” the South from Republican control. The Supreme Court’s ruling in Hall overturned the application of an 1869 Louisiana statute prohibiting racial segregation in Madame Decuirs case because of the status of the Mississippi River as a mode of interstate commerce. The decision represents a crucial precedent that established the legal groundwork for the entrenchment of Jim Crow in the law of the United States, leading directly to the Courts adoption of separate but equal in Plessy v. Ferguson.

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Marie Thérèse Coincoin

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Women on 2022-03-17 14:15Z by Steven

Marie Thérèse Coincoin

64 Parishes
2011-03-14

Elizabeth Shown Mills

Melrose Plantation, developed by Louis Metoyer, the son of Marie Thérèse Coincoin, was declared a National Historical Landmark in 1974. Photo by Rene Gomez

Marie Thérèse Coincoin was born into slavery in French Colonial Louisiana then gained her own freedom and the freedom of many of her children.

Marie Thérèse, called Coincoin, a freed slave in colonial Natchitoches, is an icon of American slavery and Louisiana’s Creole culture. As a bondswoman who became a free planter and entrepreneur, she symbolizes female self-determination in a world that imposed economic, legal, and sexual subservience on all women. As the mother of two diverse sets of children born between 1759 and 1785, she personifies the way slavery undermined the stability of slave families. Her successes and those of her offspring reflect the critical skills needed by free people of color to navigate political and racial currents in antebellum Louisiana. Two of their institutions—Melrose Plantation and St. Augustine’s Church on Isle Brevelle, founded by her sons Louis Metoyer and Nicolas Augustin Metoyer—are historical landmarks that preserve Cane River’s Creole culture…

Read the entire article here.

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A New Orleans Company Shines A Light On Opera’s Diverse History

Posted in Articles, Arts, Audio, History, Interviews, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States on 2022-02-08 00:07Z by Steven

A New Orleans Company Shines A Light On Opera’s Diverse History

Weekend Edition Sunday
National Public Radio
2017-05-28

Malika Gumpangkum and Lulu Garcia-Navarro

From left to right: Aria Mason (Rosalia), Ebonee Davis (Piquita) and Kenya Lawrence Jackson (La Flamenca) star in OperaCréole’s production of La Flamenca.
Cedric A. Ellsworth/Courtesy of OperaCréole

For many people, New Orleans is practically synonymous with jazz; it’s the birthplace of both the music and many of its leading lights, from Louis Armstrong to Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah. But now, one organization is working to draw attention to the city’s history of opera music.

OperaCréole, an opera company founded in New Orleans, is resurrecting music written by local composers of color and others who’ve been left out of the overwhelmingly white, male canon. The company’s latest production, La Flamenca, is by the Creole composer Lucien-Léon Guillaume Lambert, whose father was born in New Orleans.

OperaCréole founder and mezzo-soprano Givonna Joseph joined NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro to discuss La Flamenca and her company’s work in general. Hear their full conversation at the audio link…

Listen the entire story here.

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Louisiana Creole Peoplehood: Afro-Indigeneity and Community

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Autobiography, Books, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2022-02-04 03:42Z by Steven

Louisiana Creole Peoplehood: Afro-Indigeneity and Community

University of Washington Press
December 2021
304 pages
4 b&w illustrations
6 x 9 in.
Hardcover ISBN: 9780295749488
Paperback ISBN: 9780295749495

Edited by:

Rain Prud’homme-Cranford, Assistant professor of English and International Indigenous Studies
University of Calgary

Darryl Barthé, Visiting professor of History
Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire

Andrew J. Jolivétte, Professor of Ethnic Studies
University of California, San Diego

Over the course of more than three centuries, the diverse communities of Louisiana have engaged in creative living practices to forge a vibrant, multifaceted, and fully developed Creole culture. Against the backdrop of ongoing anti-Blackness and Indigenous erasure that has sought to undermine this rich culture, Louisiana Creoles have found transformative ways to uphold solidarity, kinship, and continuity, retaking Louisiana Creole agency as a post-contact Afro-Indigenous culture. Engaging themes as varied as foodways, queer identity, health, historical trauma, language revitalization, and diaspora, Louisiana Creole Peoplehood explores vital ways a specific Afro-Indigenous community asserts agency while promoting cultural sustainability, communal dialogue, and community reciprocity.

With interviews, essays, and autobiographic contributions from community members and scholars, Louisiana Creole Peoplehood tracks the sacred interweaving of land and identity alongside the legacies and genealogies of Creole resistance to bring into focus the Afro-Indigenous people who have been negated and written out of settler governmental policy. In doing so, this collection intervenes against the erasure of Creole Indigeneity to foreground Black/Indian cultural sustainability, agency, and self-determination.

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An American Color: Race and Identity in New Orleans and the Atlantic World

Posted in Books, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2022-01-20 02:28Z by Steven

An American Color: Race and Identity in New Orleans and the Atlantic World

University of Georgia Press
2022-01-15
272 pages
Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in
Hardcover ISBN: 9-780-8203-6076-8
Paperback ISBN: 9-780-8203-6078-2

Andrew N. Wegmann, Associate Professor of History
Delta State University, Cleveland, Mississippi

For decades, scholars have conceived of the coastal city of New Orleans as a remarkable outlier, an exception to nearly every “rule” of accepted U.S. historiography. American only by adoption, New Orleans, in most studies, serves as a frontier town of the circum-Caribbean-a vestige of North America’s European colonial era along the southern coast of a foreign, northern, insular United States. Beneath that, too, many have argued, a complex algorithm of racial mixtures was at work well into the nineteenth century, a complexity of racial understanding and treatment that almost every scholar to date has claimed simply did not exist within the more “American” states further north and outside the bounds of the Caribbean’s bizarre socioracial influence.

The reality, as An American Color explains, is that on the surface, New Orleans did have a racial and social system that confounded the more prudent and established black-white binary at work in the social rhetoric of the British-descended states further north. But this was not unique, especially within the United States. As Andrew N. Wegmann argues, New Orleans is representative of a place with different words for the same practices found throughout the North American continent and the Atlantic world. From New Orleans to Charleston and Richmond, the social construction of race remained constant and Atlantic in nature, predicated on a complex, socially infused, multitier system of prescribed racial value that challenged and sometimes abandoned preordained definitions of “black” and “white” for an assortment of fluid but meaningful designations in between. New Orleans is thus an entry point for the study of color in an Atlantic United States.

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Black Americans on the Way to Sainthood: Henriette Delille

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Religion, Slavery, United States, Women on 2022-01-18 02:32Z by Steven

Black Americans on the Way to Sainthood: Henriette Delille

St. Charles Borromeo Church
Brooklyn, New York
2021-02-13

Josephine Dongbang

Henriette Delille, (1812-1862), founder of Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
“For the love of Jesus Christ, she had become the humble and devout servant of the slaves.”

Henriette Delille was born in 1812 in New Orleans, Louisiana, to a loving Catholic family. While Henriette was born a free woman, she was descended from an enslaved African woman and white slave owner. Thus, following the tradition of the females in her family, she was groomed to form a monogamous relationship with wealthy white men under the plaçage system. She was trained in French literature, music, and dance, and expected to attend balls to meet men who would enter into such civil unions. Most of these agreements often ended up with the men later marrying white women in “official” marriages and/or abandoning their promises of support for the women and their mixed-race children. As a devout Catholic, Henriette opposed such system, believing it went against the Catholic sacrament of marriage…

Read the entire article here.

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To a Dark Girl

Posted in Biography, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Religion, United States, Videos, Women on 2022-01-12 01:13Z by Steven

To a Dark Girl

North Star
Louisiana Public Broadcasting
Source: Louisiana Digital Media Archive
1985

Contributors:

  • Genevieve Stewart, Host
  • Sister Barbara Marie, Interviewee
  • Leslie Williams, Interviewee
  • Michelle Diaz, Interviewee

This episode of the series “North Star” from 1985 focuses on two intertwined stories related to the history of New Orleans in the 19th century: the quadroon balls held at the Orleans Ballroom, clandestine events where white men met free women of color, who would become their mistresses; the founding of the Sisters of the Holy Family, an African American congregation of Catholic nuns, by Henriette DeLille; and a visit to St. Mary’s Academy, the school run by the Sisters of the Holy Family, which was once located at the Orleans Ballroom. Host: Genevieve Stewart

Watch the video (00:14:20) here.

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Quadroon Balls | LFOLKS (1985)

Posted in History, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States, Videos, Women on 2022-01-11 19:26Z by Steven

Quadroon Balls | LFOLKS (1985)

Louisiana Public Broadcasting
2022-01-05

This segment from the February 10, 1985, episode of the series “Folks” features Genevieve Stewart’s report on the history of the quadroon balls in 19th century New Orleans, clandestine events where white men met free women of color, who would become their mistresses. She visits the Orleans Ballroom at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel in the French Quarter, one of the possible sites of the quadroon balls. Stewart also interviews Clive Hardy, the archivist at the University of New Orleans, who discusses his research into the history of the quadroon balls. Host: Rob Hinton

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