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From Saint Domingue to Louisiana
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Louisiana State Museum [1956.376]

Free Persons of Color in Saint Domingue

In the three-tiered racial order in colonial Saint Domingue, free people of color occupied an intermediate status between slaves and whites. Despite the rapid growth in the number and wealth of free people of color after 1770, the white elite denied their assimilation into the colony's social and political life. They suffered the added humiliation of a dress code designed to emphasize their inferior status. In 1790, inspired by the French Revolution and its republican ideal of égalité, free black leaders Vincent Ogé and Jean-Baptiste Chavannes led an unsuccessful revolt against the white royalist planters. In the thirteen years of war and revolution that followed, thousands of whites and free people of color fled Saint Domingue, many taking their slaves with them.

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