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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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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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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Pardon for Plessy v. Ferguson’s Homer Plessy is an overdue admission of his heroism

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Louisiana, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2022-01-07 02:49Z by Steven

Pardon for Plessy v. Ferguson’s Homer Plessy is an overdue admission of his heroism

MSNBC
2022-01-05

Keisha N. Blain, Associate Professor of History
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

In ruling against Homer Plessy in 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized Jim Crow segregation for the next 60 years.
Universal History Archive / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

In rejecting Plessy’s argument that the Jim Crow law implied Black people were inferior, the Supreme Court upheld the notion of “separate but equal.”

Homer Plessy, a Creole shoemaker from New Orleans and the plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson, was pardoned by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards on Wednesday, 130 years after Plessy challenged a Louisiana law that required Black passengers and white passengers to use separate train cars. The case sanctioned the “separate but equal” doctrine and validated state laws that segregated public facilities along the lines of race. The decision effectively legalized Jim Crow segregation for the next 60 years.

As historian Blair L.M. Kelley explains in “Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019“: “Plessy v. Ferguson was the manifestation of the African American opposition to segregationist attempts to shame and degrade Black train passengers.”

The decision to pardon Homer Plessy is a welcome one, an effort to clear his name and raise national awareness to his story. It is also a symbolic gesture to acknowledge a wrong that took place so long ago. In the proclamation Edwards signed Wednesday, he praised “the heroism and patriotism” of Plessy’s “unselfish sacrifice to advocate for and to demand equality and human dignity for all of Louisiana’s citizens.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Homer Plessy: Pardon for ‘separate but equal’ civil rights figure

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States on 2022-01-06 03:02Z by Steven

Homer Plessy: Pardon for ‘separate but equal’ civil rights figure

BBC News
2022-01-05

Governor Bel Edwards signed the pardon near the site of Plessy’s arrest

The governor of Louisiana has pardoned Homer Plessy, a 19th century black activist whose arrest 130 years ago led to one of the most criticised Supreme Court decisions in US history.

Plessy was arrested in 1892 after he purchased a ticket and refused to leave a whites-only train car in New Orleans.

In 1896, the top US court ruled against Plessy, clearing the way for Jim Crow segregation laws in the American South.

The pardon was spearheaded by the very office that sought charges against him.

After Plessy was removed from the train, his case – Plessy v Ferguson – wound up in front of the Supreme Court. The court ruled that accommodations can exist for different races – a doctrine dubbed “separate but equal“.

Their decision stood for decades, until the landmark 1954 Brown v Board of Education case helped begin to dismantle racial segregation laws..

Read the entire article here.

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I thought I was White until I learned my mother’s secret. The census helped me tell my family story.

Posted in Articles, Biography, Census/Demographics, Louisiana, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2021-12-27 21:52Z by Steven

I thought I was White until I learned my mother’s secret. The census helped me tell my family story.

The Washington Post
2021-10-13

Gail Lukasik

Gail Lukasik’s mother, Alvera Frederic Kalina, in New Orleans circa 1942. Kalina was born into a Black family in New Orleans but spent her life passing as White. (Family photo)

The first time I was grilled about my racial identity, I’d just given a talk to an all-White audience at a suburban Chicago library.

“What are you, anyway?” a woman asked. Her blunt tone put me on edge.

I’d just related my mother’s story of racial passing. How she and her New Orleans family were designated as “Negro” during the Jim Crow era, how she moved north to Ohio, married my White, bigoted father, and hid her mixed race from him and eventually us. Looking back, there were small clues, like she always wore face makeup, even to bed.

I’d told the audience about my journey of finding my mother’s birth certificate and discovering her racial secret when I was 49, confronting her — and her swearing me to secrecy until her death. Then 18 years later, I found my mother’s lost family, thanks to my appearance on PBS’sGenealogy Roadshow.”…

Read the entire article here.

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