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The Free People of Color of New Orleans: An Introduction

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3.9  ·  Rating details ·  68 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 152 pages
Published January 1st 1994 by Margaret Media
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Valerielynnbassett
Jan 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Bought this in New Orleans when I went with my sister after hearing a compelling account of the voodoo history of the French Quarter on a walking tour. I was intrigued to learn that under Louisana law,which was based on French law, Black family of a white person could inherit property. Many free women of color became lifetime mistresses of wealthy white men, and these women and their children would inherit a portion of the man's wealth and property. At one time, a large part of the French Quarte ...more
Crystal
Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a really good starting point for those who are interested in the history of the free people of color in New Orleans. It's a survey covering hundreds of years and many topics, none in depth. But it will give you the general trajectory, and help you determine what you might be interested in studying more in depth.
Robyn
Nov 28, 2017 rated it liked it
This is an eye opening read. This part of our nation's history is not covered in school.
R. Michael
Apr 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is excellent! The writing is clear and concise and the subject matter is truly fascinating. I am especially impressed with how much information Mary Gehman manages to fit into a relatively short book. This is a very lucid and enlightening exploration of a unique element of American heritage and culture. There was so much here that I didn't know, so much that tends to be left out of history books...I feel as if I truly understand not only New Orleans, but America as a whole on a level I ...more
Claudia
Aug 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: folks who wanna know about N'awlins Creoles
Recommended to Claudia by: Maggie at McKeown's
Shelves: nonfiction
The author states: "Many descendants of the free people of color today are unaware of their personal history and the events that formed it. Their parents and grandparents in some cases simply did not talk openly about their family background."

This is so true. I was always curious and asked questions about why I was so light, but there was really no definitive answer or genealogical facts that anyone could give. This book is amazing for anyone who is curious about Creole culture, as well as New
...more
Scott Pomfret
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
This history of free people of color is a mere introduction. Its scope is decidedly small and it is not a work of any original scholarship, as far as I could see. There is some interesting but undeveloped work at the end of the book as to what it means to be a Creole of color today, but the work on the antebellum period was derivative at best, and the post-war Reconstruction and Jim Crow periods received barely a nod of recognition. There are far better works on the free people of color of New O ...more
Rashid Darden
Dec 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: black-studies
This was a quick read that was truly just an introduction. Gehman introduces a lot of interesting ideas and concepts about the free people of color in New Orleans and I am inspired to go research even further, especially on the political climate of the 1800s among the various New Orleans communities.

I liked it, but it still had some issues. I wanted to know more about the 1900s, for example. The last hundred or so years seemed rushed. But still, it was a good book for people who are just starti
...more
Devin Barras
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent introduction to the forgotten free people of color in New Orleans. It does a great job describing how and why free people of color emerged in New Orleans. It was no accident this community grew and became a significant cultural and social class of progress and prosperity for the city of New Orleans and Louisiana at large. This tradition is overshadowed by the Americanization of Louisiana and the racial struggles that ensued post-Civil War.
Marie Hew
Jun 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Cool strand of American history that is hardly mentioned outside of Louisiana let alone the South. A slim volume that reads a bit like the history section of a travel guide book. The annotated bibliography is probably the most valuable part of the book. Can't wait until the scholarship in this area expands.
GooseberryCompote
Apr 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very cool. I found information in here that I haven't found in any other books on the subject.
Christine
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Learned a lot I didn't know; very accessible writing.
Judith Rozarie
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great review of folks in NOLA, back in the day.
Chrissy
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
great book. answered many questions I had about creole people.
Robin B
Dec 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a great primer - I had heard about Free People of Color but hadn't learned much about them or their lives. A good starting point for anyone interested in history & race relations.
Joe
Jul 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
A quick and interesting read on the history of free people of color in New Orleans.
Sean Chick
Oct 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Not a bad introduction, but the errors I saw in the Civil War chapter (the war ends in 1864 in one sentence) were enough to make me wonder about the book as a whole.
Monica
Nov 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Not bad. An interesting history of the culture of Creoles and other black ethnic groups in New Orleans.
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