Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Story of Black New Orleans

By Leland C. Abraham, Esq.

Outside of the New Orleans, very few of Black Americans have heard of this historic place. Faubourg Treme (hereinafter called “Treme”) was one of the first communities of black free men during slavery. Treme began as a plantation like any other plat of land during the time. Near the end of the 18th century, Claude Treme purchased the land. Within a few decades of this purchase, a canal was built that split the land. Some developers then began to make the land into neighborhoods. These neighborhoods would go on to house whites, creoles and free people of color throughout the 1800s.
Louisiana was a little different from the other southern states in that blacks could purchase their freedom. In fact, some blacks had their own slaves during this time period. Treme was extremely unique in that it was a precursor to a lot of black history. For example, the first black newspaper publication came from Treme. The Tribune started out as a French language publication but later became bilingual. This was important because after the civil war, the Tribune urged it black readers to “boycott” the rail system until there was equal treatment among the races. This would have been in the latter portion of the 19th Century, well before the “Birmingham Bus Boycott.”

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