He reached an agreement with the mistress of Marie to lease her to his care. Eventually because of controversy and protest Metoyer purchased her freedom. Religion became a central feature of the colony as a chapel became a central place on the property. The recognition and legitimacy of the church carried great importance for Augustin Metoyer as he reserved eight pews for his white friends. For Augustin the existence of the church meant prestige and a recognition by the outside community.
The characteristics of the Creoles of Cane River clashed with the stereotypes whites held of blacks during the antebellum period. The people of the Cane River colony possessed aristocratic manners. They learned to treat their elders with respect and to obey them in all matters. Conscientious Catholics, they absorbed a pride in their heritage, their wealth, their education, their religion, and above all themselves. They always erected themselves with self-respect. The free blacks of Louisiana claimed rights not permitted free blacks in other Southern states.
Free people of color in Louisiana used firearms and acquired limited access to the court system. The Cane River Creoles knew their rights and took advantage of the courts. They also used their wealth and hired legal counsel when needed. They even filed suit against whites and trusted the outcome to white juries.
The Metoyer Creoles regarded themselves as a special class and held themselves apart from both blacks and whites. The Civil War and Reconstruction brought decline and a loss of their special status. The colony isolated itself and the members clung to their French language and traditions.
During the twentieth century, younger colony members relocated to industrial areas of the North and West Coast. Those with white complexions assimilated into the white community. Paintings, crafts, and mementos of the lives and legends of the colony displayed in the manor house celebrated the culture of the Colony.
The library explored aspects of Louisiana folk life and the Cane River life. Melrose hosted painters, writers, and other artists fascinated with the Cane River society and culture.
In the federal government declared the buildings of the Melrose Plantation a national historic landmark in recognition of its unique culture and history. The Creoles of Cane River adapted and thrived in their region. They thrived despite existing racial barriers present aided by the unique French heritage of Louisiana. They developed a unique aristocratic culture apart from the white and black folk cultures near them. The irony is that one of the factors which led to their demise came with the end of slavery.
Out of colonial Natchitoches, in northwestern Louisiana, emerged a sophisticated and affluent community founded by a family of freed slaves. Their plantations eventually encompassed 18, fertile acres, which they tilled alongside hundreds of their own bondsmen. Furnishings of quality and taste graced their homes, and private tutors educated their children.
Like their white neighbors, they publicly supported the Confederacy and suffered the same depredations of war and political and social uncertainties of Reconstruction. Unlike white Creoles, however, they did not recover amid cycles of Redeemer and Jim Crow politics. This new edition provides a nuanced portrayal of the lives of Creole slaves and the roles allowed to freed people of color, tackling issues of race, gender, and slave holding by former slaves.
The Forgotten People corrects misassumptions about the origin of key properties in the Cane River National Heritage Area and demonstrates how historians reconstruct the lives of the enslaved, the impoverished, and the disenfranchised. Gary B.
Mills — grew up on a rice plantation in the Mississippi Delta but visited Cane River often in his youth and adopted it personally and professionally in adulthood. From until his death, he was a professor of history at the University of Alabama.
watch Elizabeth Shown Mills is an independent scholar and the author of numerous works on Louisiana history and research methodology, including Isle of Canes and Evidence Explained, named by Library Journal as a Best Reference book. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books.
Creoles of Color in the Bayou Country. New Paperback Quantity Available: 2. For Augustin the existence of the church meant prestige and a recognition by the outside community. Fontenot, and Claude F. Powered by Create your own unique website with customizable templates.
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Overview Out of colonial Natchitoches, in northwestern Louisiana, emerged a sophisticated and affluent community founded by a family of freed slaves. Product Details About the Author. About the Author Gary B. Average Review. Write a Review. Related Searches.