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Grant number like: FZ-231349-15

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Edward Ball
Yale University (New Haven, CT 06510-1703)

Public Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2015 – 9/30/2016

Constant LeCorgne (1832-1886): Biography of a Klansman

A biography of a klansman (the author's great-great grandfather) in the American South during Reconstruction, exploring the roots of American racial violence and ideology.

I propose in a fellowship year to work on the biography of a klansman, tracing the life of a foot soldier in the race battles that occurred during Reconstruction in the American South. The vigilante in this project was an ordinary man, a French-speaking carpenter by the name of Constant LeCorgne, who was my great-great-grandfather. LeCorgne joined and fought with the White League, a militia in Louisiana equivalent to the Ku Klux Klan. A person long dead, his life thinly documented, LeCorgne was a person who despite a marginal place in memory once ranked as a hero to his white contemporaries. The biography will follow the evolution of this white guerilla soldier as a way to explore the roots of American racial violence and ideology. Segregation and white supremacy disfigured American life for 150 years—this project zeroes in on one man to investigate how, why, and by whom they were shaped.