Creoles of color enjoyed a higher social status than

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Unformatted text preview: a century, the city had shifted political allegiance four times. The multiple- ethnicity brought about by the political changes was further extended by a steady stream of immigrants from Italy and French- Canada (Cajuns), and by the development of a mixed- ethnic class of individuals known as Creoles. Creoles of Color 2 Crossroads: Music of American Cultures (Barkley) Kendall Hunt Publishers, 2013 “Creole” was the French version of the Spanish word, Criolla. Originally, Criollas were the sons and daughters of Spanish natives who were born in the New World and Creoles were the sons and daughters of French natives who were born in the New World. Later the term was applied to the offspring of inter- marriages between people of French and Spanish ancestry. Later still, the term was generalized to apply to persons of mixed race and ethnicity. Eventually an entire social class called “Creoles of Color” emerged, most typically individuals born from the liaisons of white men with African American women. Dating back to Louisiana’s “Black Code” of 1724 which allowed for individual manumission (freeing) of slaves, the French and Spanish white men would sometimes provide for the emancipation of their African American mistress in their will. Because children held the same status as their mother, any children resulting from this relationship would also be free. Creoles of Color enjoyed a higher social status than the black slaves. Many were sent to France for education, and many became wealthy landowners and prosperous businessmen. New Orleans as a Multi- Ethnic and Multi- Racial City The shifting European allegiances, the steady influx of immigrants, and the development of a prosperous class of Creoles were both the result of, and a contributing factor to, the development of a cosmopolitan, multi- ethnic and racially tolerant city culture that was very different from that of other American cities. It was also a very musical city, boasting one of the earliest opera houses and enjoying a variety of popular and folk musics. Even the black slaves were allowed to maintain their African music and dance traditions as well as the Caribbean traditions many African Americans had absorbed in their transitional stay in the West Indies. One example of this cultural tolerance was that African drums were p...
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