Becoming American in Creole New Orleans: family, community, labor and schooling, 1896-1949
thesisposted on 2023-06-09, 01:42 authored by Darryl G. Jr. Barthé
The Louisiana Creole community in New Orleans went through profound changes in the first half of the 20th-century. This work examines Creole ethnic identity, focusing particularly on the transition from Creole to American. In "becoming American," Creoles adapted to a binary, racialized caste system prevalent in the Jim Crow American South (and transformed from a primarily Francophone/Creolophone community (where a tripartite although permissive caste system long existed) to a primarily Anglophone community (marked by stricter black-white binaries). These adaptations and transformations were facilitated through Creole participation in fraternal societies, the organized labor movement and public and parochial schools that provided English-only instruction. The "Americanization of Creole New Orleans" has been a common theme in Creole studies since the early 1990's, but no prior study has seriously examined the cultural and social transformation of Creole New Orleans by addressing the place and role of public and private institutions as instruments and facilitators of Americanization. By understanding the transformation of Creole New Orleans, this thesis demonstrates how an historically mixed-race community was ultimately divided by the segregationist culture of the early-twentieth century U.S. South. In addition to an extensive body of secondary research, this work draws upon archival research at the University of New Orleans' Special Collections, Tulane University Special Collections, the Amistad Research Center, The Archdiocese of New Orleans, and Xavier University Special Collections. This thesis makes considerable use of census data, draws upon press reports, and brings to bear a wide assortment of oral histories conducted by the author and others. Most scholars have viewed New Orleans Creoles simply as Francophone African Americans, but this view is limited. This doctoral thesis engages the Creole community in New Orleans on its own terms, and in its own idioms, to understand what "becoming American" meant for New Orleans Creoles between 1896-1949.
- Published version
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- American Studies Theses
InstitutionUniversity of Sussex
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