Creoles of Color in the Bayou Country

Creoles of Color in the Bayou Country

Creoles of Color in the Bayou Country

Creoles of Color in the Bayou Country

Synopsis

Creoles of Color are rightfully among the first families of south-western Louisiana. Yet in both antebellum and postbellum periods they remained a people considered apart from the rest of the population. Historians, demographers, sociologists, and anthropologists have given them only scant attention. This probing book, focused on the mid-eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries, is the first to scrutinize this multiracial group through a close study of primary resource materials. During the antebellum period they were excluded from the state's three-tiered society--white, free people of color, and slaves. Yet Creoles of Color were a dynamic component in the region's economy, for they were self-compelled in efforts to become and integral part of the community.

Excerpt

The history of the Creoles of Color in the prairie regions of Louisiana dates back to the early settlement of the area. Their story is deeply intertwined with the story of the growth and development of an important farming and cattle-raising area of Louisiana.

Creoles of Color in the Bayou Country is the first serious attempt to took at the history of the Creoles of Color in these regions. The authors have chronicled well a sometimes troubled but always fascinating history of a proud and calculating people. They have delved extensively into primary records and have found a people intricately involved in the economic activities of the area.

From the earliest days of settlement and establishment in the prairie regions, the Creoles of Color, it seems, were in the business of seeking prosperity. In this endeavor, certainly, they received a greater degree of help than other free blacks. They were then, as so many are today, concerned about what others in society thought of them. Consequently, they were a people driven constantly to succeed, a value that was not lost on their progeny. In a three-tier society--white, free people of color, and slaves--many struggled, but they demonstrated much persistence in their attempt to be an integral part of the community.

The Creoles of Color were good imitators. They were not interested in being black. They were truly a people apart--they did not belong and were not accepted as members of the white race nor were they willing to be members of the Negro race. If they could not be accepted into the white race, then they would attempt to be as white as they could. By a few years before the Civil War many had developed an elitist attitude regarding their social relationships. They imitated the life-style of their white neighbors. They were members of the Catholic church . . .

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