Art & Identity in New Orleans

HNRS 109 Spring '18

Free Women of Color

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In my research, I plan to explore the roles of Free Women of Color in Antebellum New Orleans and the ways in which these roles differ from other populations in the city during that time.  I intend for my research to cover laws, traditions, and social customs unique to free women of color at that time. In this course, we have repeatedly discussed the ways in which race and gender shaped New Orleans culture and convention. When researching the gens de couleur libre, I found the peculiar balance many women of the group had to maintain in order to survive very interesting. Things like choosing a spouse, maintaining a household, and even outward presentation, took on new meaning and complication for these women. Some of the questions I am seeking to answer in my research are: How did free woman of color operate in society in the 1700s and 1800s? How did New Orleans society view them as a population? What unique struggles did they face due to both their womanhood and racial identity?

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