Becoming American in Creole New Orleans: family, community, labor and schooling, 1896-1949

Barthé, Darryl G. Jr. (2016) Becoming American in Creole New Orleans: family, community, labor and schooling, 1896-1949. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

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.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > American Studies
Subjects: E History America > E151 United States (General) > E0660 Late nineteenth century, 1865-1900
E History America > E151 United States (General) > E0740 Twentieth century
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2016 15:39
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2018 08:20
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/61508

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