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Grant number: PW-51368-13

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Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, LA 70808-4600)
Tara Zachary Laver (Project Director: July 2012 to present)

Free People of Color in Louisiana: Revealing an Unknown Past

A collaborative effort to digitize approximately 25,000 pages of historical documents relating to free people of color in Louisiana and the lower Mississippi Valley, including family papers, business records, and public documents.

People of African descent who lived in colonial and antebellum America and were born free or escaped the bonds of slavery made significant contributions to the economies and cultures of the communities in which they lived. Their anomalous status made them one of the most talked about “problems” of the first half of the nineteenth century, yet their story has been largely overshadowed by the more inhumane story of slavery. We propose to digitize and, via the LOUISiana Digital Library, provide free public access to a minimum of 25,000 digital scans drawn from family papers, business records, and public documents pertaining to free people of color in Louisiana and the lower Mississippi Valley. The project will bring together collections held by the Louisiana State Museum, Louisiana State University Libraries, the New Orleans Public Library, The Historic New Orleans Collection, and Tulane University’s Louisiana Research Center.

Project fields:
Archival Management and Conservation

Humanities Collections and Reference Resources

Preservation and Access

Total amounts:
$194,152 (approved)
$193,176 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2013 – 4/30/2015