African Women in French and Spanish Louisiana Origins, Roles, Family, Work, Treatment

Gwendolyn Midlo Hall

in The Devil's Lane

Published in print June 1997 | ISBN: 9780195112436
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854271 | DOI:
African Women in French and Spanish Louisiana Origins, Roles, Family, Work, Treatment

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Louisiana was, and is, a truly, multicutural society that developed very differently from the thirteen original Angolo colonies. In colonial Louisiana, an entirely new Creole culture was created from the knowledge, skills, folk art, and world views of Africans, Native Americans, and Europeans. This chapter explains that it was women—especially mothers and surrogate mothers—who primarily molded the new generations. The experience of African women in colonial Louisiana reflected a broader continuum ranging from the most brutal forms of economic and sexual exploitation to impressive upward social mobility and economic power. Colonial Louisiana was a rough, violent, frontier world where slave women were overworked, driven beyond the limits of their physical endurance, tortured, and victimized. African women and women of African descent were crucial in the creation of this new and unique Louisiana Creole language and culture. They took care of their own children, and of many white children as well.

Keywords: French Louisiana; Spanish Louisiana; Creole; African women; colonial Louisiana

Chapter.  7497 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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