Gwendolyn Midlo Hall
Paperback, Hardback, e-book, 1992, 456 pages,
Publisher: Louisiana State Univ Pr
ISBN-10 (Paperback): 0807119997
ISBN-10 (Hardback): 0807116866

Although a number of important studies of American slavery have explored the formation of slave cultures in the English colonies, no book had undertaken a comprehensive assessment of the development of the distinctive Afro-Creole culture of colonial Louisiana. This culture, based upon a separate language community with its own folkloric, musical, religious, and historical traditions, was created by slaves brought directly from Africa to Louisiana before 1731. It still survives as the acknowledged cultural heritage of tens of thousands of people of all races in the southern part of the state. In this path breaking work, Gwendolyn Midlo Hall studies Louisiana’s creole slave community during the eighteenth century, focusing on the slaves’ African origins, the evolution of their own language and culture, and the role they played in the formation of the broader society, economy, and culture of the region. Hall bases her study on research in a wide range of archival sources in Louisiana, France, and Spain and employs several disciplines–history, anthropology, linguistics, and folklore–in her analysis. Among the topics Hall considers are the French slave trade from Africa to Louisiana, the ethnic origins of the slaves, and relations between African slaves and native Indians. She gives special consideration to race mixture between Africans, Indians, and whites; to the role of slaves in the Natchez Uprising of 1729; to slave unrest and conspiracies, including the Pointe Coupee conspiracies of 1791 and 1795; and to the development of communities of runaway slaves in the cypress swamps around New Orleans. Hall’s text is enhanced by a number of tables, graphs, maps, and illustrations.Hall attributes the exceptional vitality of Louisiana’s creole slave communities to several factors: the large size of the African population relative to the white population; the importation of slaves directly from Africa and enduring strength of African cultural features.