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  4. Free People of Color LSU Libraries Special Collections

Free people of color--people of African descent who lived in colonial and antebellum America and were born free or escaped the bonds of slavery before it was abolished in 1865--made significant contributions to the economies and cultures of the communities in which they lived but held an anomalous status in the racial hierarchy of the day. 

Inhabiting this place in between made their ambiguous and incongruent status one of the most talked about “problems” of the first half of the nineteenth century, yet their story has been largely overshadowed by the harsh story of slavery.


“Free People of Color in Louisiana: Revealing an Unknown Past” is a collaboration among LSU Libraries Special Collections, the Historical Center at the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans, the Louisiana Division of the New Orleans Public Library, The Historic New Orleans Collection, and Tulane University’s Louisiana Research Collection to bring together digitally the personal and family papers of free people of color and public records that relate to the group from the repositories’ collections.   The project is made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The digitized materials are accessible at no charge through the Louisiana Digital Library.