The Free People of Color of New Orleans: An Introduction


by Mary Gehman

The Free People of Color of New Orleans: An Introduction, Amazon Prime Paperback
The Free People of Color of New Orleans: An Introduction, Amazon Kindle Edition

Antebellum New Orleans was home to thousands of urbane , educated and well to do free blacks. The French called them les gens de couleur libre, the free people of color; after the Civil War they were known as the Creoles of color, shortened today to simply Creoles. Theirs was an ambiguous status, sharing the French Language, Catholic religion and European education of the elite whites, but also keeping African and indigenous American influences from their early heritage. This is their story, rarely mentioned in conventional histories, and often misunderstood today, even by some of their descendants. The book is an easy read that lays out the chronology of events, laws and circumstances that formed the unique racial mix of New Orleans and much of Louisiana. Includes end notes, suggested bibliography, index, and a listing of family names of free people of color that appear in the early years of the Louisiana Territory. A must-have for genealogists, historians, and students of African-American history.


About the Author

Mary Gehman is an historian, researcher, writer and publisher. Her book Women and New Orleans (Margaret Media, Inc. 1988) led her to study the origins of hundreds of free women of color who owned property in New Orleans in the late 1700s, and led to the writing of the book The Free People of Color of New Orleans. She has also written about free blacks from Louisiana who emigrated to Mexico in the years prior to the Civil War and the consequent Creole community of their descendants today in Mexico. Since flooding out in Hurricane Katrina in N.O. she has relocated upriver to Donaldsonville, Louisiana. Lloyd Dennis, who researched and provided the photos for The Free People of Color of New Orleans, is a native of the city and a professional photographer who while working on the book learned some new and positive things about his own background.

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