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By Carl A. Brasseaux

Creoles of colour are rightfully one of the first households of south-western Louisiana. but in either antebellum and postbellum classes they remained a humans thought of except the remainder of the inhabitants. Historians, demographers, sociologists, and anthropologists have given them basically scant attention.This probing ebook, concerned with the mid-eighteenth to the early 20th centuries, is the 1st to scrutinize this multiracial team via a detailed learn of fundamental source materials.During the antebellum interval they have been excluded from the state's three-tiered society--white, unfastened humans of colour, and slaves. but Creoles of colour have been a dynamic part within the region's economic climate, for they have been self-compelled in efforts to develop into and necessary a part of the group.

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These regional designations were not confined to local usages. The United States Census Bureau, Page 6 for example, referred to this region as Attakapas in 1810 although the area had been renamed St. Martin Parish by the state legislature three years earlier. Because indigenous inhabitants of the lower prairiesthe Attakapas Indianswere reputedly cannibalistic, the Attakapas and Opelousas districts were among the last areas of lower Louisiana to be developed by the colony's French government. Indeed, the French administration made no effort to establish formal relations with the Attakapas, the area's largest indigenous group, and the Opelousas, a cultural and linguistic subgroup of the Attakapas, throughout the first four decades of Louisiana's existence, prompting the tribe to send a delegation to New Orleans in 1733 to forge commercial ties with the neighboring colony.

The development of a free black society in southwestern Louisiana's prairie parishes offers a microcosmic view of these statewide economic Page 5 and demographic trends. The ethnogenesis and embryonic development of these rural Creole of Color communities occurred in the Attakapas and Opelousas posts, two civil and military districts that, in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, comprised the entire south-central and southwestern quadrants of modern-day Louisiana. Attakapas encompassed the present parishes of Lafayette, Vermilion, St.

84, was in collectible notes, most of which were secured by mortgages. Obviously, the practice of serving as banker to his Creole of Color and white neighbors continued until his death (St. Landry Parish, Probate 1339). Donato left his descendants a magnificent heritage of success against the odds. His African descent did not prevent him from forcing Page 28 the economic system to grant him the recognition he deserved. Rather than cursing the system, he chose to live within it and forced it to work to his advantage and to the advantage of his successors.

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