The Forgotten People: Cane Rivers Creoles of Color

FC 66 A Discussion with Elizabeth Shown Mills
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facturon.com/images/2019-11-08/2914-aplicacion-para.php Moving forward I plan to do a series of video and audio interviews. I believe the people themselves are best equipped to tell their stories. So if you, or someone you know would like to lend their voice to Cane River Stories, please contact me. I plan on going to New York, LA, and Chicago to interview Creoles with ties to the Cane River, so please spread the word to anyone who might be interested.

When you fish with limb lines sometimes you get more than you expect.

That was the case one morning when Phil and Woody went out to check on their lines. As we slowly came upon one of the lines near the bank — they could tell they had hooked something big. At first they thought it might be a catfish, but then the tail made an appearance above the water line — it was no catfish, but a turtle. A large alligator snapping turtle that is not to be taken lightly. It can remove fingers from your hand and break bones.

After wrangling it into the boat they had the dubious task of getting it ashore and securing it safely. It remained in a large, plastic tank behind the big house for others to check out for a couple of days before meeting an untimely end and becoming turtle soup. So one afternoon Woody shows up with a wild boar in a cage he got from the LaCazes. The meat of a boar a male hog is much more musky and gamey than a sow. Interestingly, even in the houses of God some priests decreed separate registers for marriages and baptismal basins for whites and non-whites.

Augustin Metoyer was a pious man and regarded religion as the cornerstone of his community. He travelled to France and noted the central role of the church in the villages and on his return built a chapel in Isle Brevelle in , although there is no official documentation to confirm this. However, a chapel was blessed in and the role of the Metoyers in enabling the erection is clearly documented. Pews were reserved in a secondary row, a very unusual practice, for white members of the community who wished to attend services!

Cleverly, it seems, Augustin lived through tumultuous successive changes as Louisiana, originally French, was given to Spain, then reclaimed by the French and finally sold to the US in , and became Americanised. It was Augustin who took responsibility for the welfare of his clan while his youngest brother, Francois, excited their imagination. His decision was final. Francois was known for his strength, humour, plain living and humble.

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Mills describes in some detail of how the matriarch Marie-Therese and her two sons Augustine and Francois would instil a sense of familial solidarity and Catholic religious values in their family members. The important precepts of a distinct culture appears to have been inculcated. This included respect for elders, importance of family ties and support and importantly self-respect.

The latter is evidenced by clothes, accessories, horses, portraits in oil, ladies perfumes and other deluxe items usually reserved for the white population. There is a poignancy when one learns that this grouping could only overcome social restrictions by family solidarity as not being white excluded them from fully integration into the white community and not being black likewise into the black community.

Their extended family was all they had for social intercourse and support.

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The men of Cane River Creoles of Colour did mingle with the whites in some formal activities e. The families were insular in the greater community but self-sustained and self-protective with an array of activities gluing the community. These activities ranged from dancing much frowned upon by the church , holidays to friends and relatives, celebrations of weddings, Easter, Christmas, cockfighting, dogfighting and apparently cards which included gambling. Mills provides an insight into the ancestry of the modern gastronomic delicacies of this community as food was an important ingredient in the culture being established by the Cane River Creoles of Colour.

Mills, probably without realising it, details at length the key pathway to success for this That of education.

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Revolution and Rebellion. Eventually because of controversy and protest Metoyer purchased her freedom. Daphne rated it really liked it May 30, Ringle, Ken. From until his death, he was a professor of history at the University of Alabama.

Education allowed them to preserve and defend their freedom and civil rights as Louisiana became absorbed into the United States. How was this achieved in a society where teaching non-whites, free or enslaved, to read and write was a crime? Initially, at least, there is evidence that Negro planters sent their children to France.

Locally, breaking this law was tolerated so the multiracial children of Isle Brevelle were educated in their own private schools, generally by French immigrant teachers. Latterly also by free men of colour such as Bernard Dauphin, who penned poems which appear in an anthology, Les Cenelles. Although the early education was in French by about the Cane River community was beginning to be also conversant in English. The church also provided education for free people in its mission schools, alongside the private institutions created by the Metoyers and their descendants.

Education was the key that overcame the stigmas of slavery, illegitimacy, illiteracy and poverty.

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The Forgotten People: Cane River's Creoles of Color Paperback – September 1, The Forgotten People: Cane River's Creoles of Color (Library of Southern Civilization) by Gary B. Mills Paperback $ It is an unforgettable account based on the lives of "The Forgotten People. The Forgotten People: Cane River's Creoles of Color (Library of Southern Civilization) [Gary B. Mills, Elizabeth Shown Mills, H. Sophie Burton] on Amazon. com.

Mills rightly examines in depth the one barrier that was most challenging to crush. Free but coloured was still not a combination that permitted equality of citizenship with the white population. Although, in Louisiana a clear distinction existed between Negroes and Freeman of Colour this was not the case in most other parts of the US. The situation was complicated by the gradual influx of Anglo-Americans and changes in the law after the Louisiana Purchase.

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It is a testament of the astuteness of the Cane River Creoles of Colour that they were able to recognise that the only way to survive a changing social order was to be fully aware of their right as citizens, limited as they were, and be prepared to exercise these rights even if it meant filing suits against white people. Wealth in terms of landholding and slave ownership took a steady decline. Slave ownership was in , by and declined to by However, economic hardship effected very few families, the majority were still exceptionally well to do.

Cotton prices plummeted and crops were badly damaged by weather conditions in the late s and early s. This ruined whites and non-white freed men, as with Auguste, a son of the patriarch Augustine, who had over stretched during the good years and could not manage to pay debtors even though he sold most of his landholdings. Slow rebuilding occurred but it was more difficult to purchase land due to the influx after the Louisiana Purchase of Anglo-Americans. Many whites did so by moving to adjacent States such as neighbouring Eastern Texas.

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Migrating for the coloureds was made very tough as each revision of the Code Noir to align with American concepts meant an erosion of freedom and opportunity for the coloureds of Cane River. The American government encouraged Negroes to emigrate to Latin America Mexico…… where the blacks were already enfranchised.

ISBN 13: 9780807102879

This was seen by the Cane River Creoles of Colour as a wheeze to get rid of them and records show almost zero uptake within this community. The American civil war is labelled by Mills as a seismic event for the Cane River population. The political and economic turmoil would necessitate decisions on allegiances and prospects.

Discreetly, the Cane River families sided with the Confederacy, except for a few individuals and slaves. These included no member of the Metoyer clan.