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Black Legislators in Louisiana during Recontruction

Charles Vincent

Publication Year: 2011

Concentrating on the performance and presence of blacks in the Louisiana legislature from the Civil War through Reconstruction, Vincent shows that although black legislators were a minority, they were not powerless.

Published by: Southern Illinois University Press

Title Page

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Illustrations and Maps

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pp. ix-x

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Preface to the Paperback Edition

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pp. xi-xvi

Examining the modern Civil Rights movement and the election of the first African American president, Barack H. Obama, allows for a better understanding and appreciation of the role African American leaders played and the progressive proposals they and their allies supported during Reconstruction. Time has increased our...

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pp. xvii-xviii

I should like to express my appreciation to the staffs of the following archives and libraries: the National Archives, Library of Congress, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University, New Orleans Public Library, Louisiana State Archives and Records, Howard-Tilton Library at Tulane University...

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pp. xix-xxiv

The pelformance and numerical strength of blacks in state legislatures during Reconstruction have been a source of much historical de bate. Most earlier writers observe that blacks dominated the legislatures and local offices. These studies characterize the number of blacks in positions of political power as a vicious ruling...

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I. Black Leadership During the Civil War

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pp. 1-15

Part of the drama of the Civil War experience for southern blacks was their own participation in the fight for their freedom. For the first time in Louisiana's history, blacks served in large numbers as soldiers, and in serving they helped to preserve the Union. The war was also an experience in political education for blacks...

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II. Political Activities of Blacks, 1862-1867

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pp. 16-47

Before the war a large and prosperous community offree blacks, numbering 10,939 persons, had existed in New Orleans. The presence of Federal authorities in the city after April, 1862, emboldened the leaders to press for political rights for themselves and for their brothers in bondage. Preeminent among them was...

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III. Black Delegates and the Constitutional Convention

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pp. 48-70

The political situation in Louisiana had become extremely tense during the summer of 1867. Throughout the early months the Radical Republicans had held meetings and continuously asked for equality before the law for the black population. Their platform "indorsed the Acts of the thirty-ninth and fortieth...

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IV. Education and Civil Rights, 1868-1870

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pp. 71-97

The election held on APlil 16 and 17, after the ratification of the constitution elevated blacks to public office for the first time in Louisiana. Whites, not yet recovered from having blacks assist in the framing of the constitution, now turned their attention to the legislature. What would be the black...

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V. Economic and Social Reforms, 1868-1870

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pp. 98-112

Although most blacks ofthe Reconstruction era were concerned with obtaining civil rights, those living in cities or towns were more determined to push the issue. Most blacks, however, lived in rural areas, where their daily lives were bound to the land. Their primary demand was for an equitable reward for their...

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VI. Legislation and a Lame Duck Governor

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pp. 113-137

The legislative session of 1870 brought several changes to the political situation in Louisiana. The most significant change was a rift in the Republican party, caused by opposition to Governor Warmoth. According to one source, the opposition was largely personal and can be traced to the proposed removal of the clause...

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VII. Factionalism Under Governor Kellogg

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pp. 138-182

The division in the state Republican party reflected a similar division in the national Republican organization. The state factions accordingly affiliated with one or the other of the national factions. In 1872 the national Republicans nominated Grant for President and Henry Wilson for vice-president. The Liberal...

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VIII. Modest Gains and Decline, 1874-1876

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pp. 183-201

Louisiana was an armed camp during the spring and summer of 1874. Because the conservatives felt that the election of 1872 had been a fraud and that the Kellog government was a ursurpation, they were determined to carry the November election. The instrument used to ensure a conservative victory was the White...

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IX. The Battle for Survival

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pp. 202-218

Approximately six weeks after the first session of the regular term ended, an extra session was convened. Kellogg's proclamation announcing the session was issued in late March, and the session was scheduled to open on April 14 for ten days. The call stipulated the subjects upon which the legislature was to act: to...

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Summing Up

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pp. 219-225

The Reconstruction era, to a greater degree than most periods in our history, is encrusted with myth that has survived by oral tradition and has been perpetuated in print. A staple item in the myth is that blacks were in the majority in many if not all of the legislatures of the South. Recent research reveals that such was...


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pp. 226-238


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pp. 239-254


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pp. 255-263

Image Plates

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E-ISBN-13: 9780809385812
E-ISBN-10: 0809385813
Print-ISBN-13: 9780809329694
Print-ISBN-10: 0809329697

Page Count: 294
Illustrations: 10 B/w halftones
Publication Year: 2011

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877) -- Louisiana.
  • Louisiana -- Politics and government -- 1865-1950.
  • African American legislators -- Louisiana -- History -- 19th century.
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