Manuscript Resources on African American History

This guide describes manuscript collections documenting African American history in the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections at LSU. It includes the papers of African Americans and their families; oral histories done with African Americans; and other collections that document African American history in one way or another. In the early period, these collections include documentation of slavery, the slave trade, abolitionism, and apologies for slavery. In the modern period, they include collections that document issues like civil rights, integration, and race relations.

Indeed, the experience of African Americans before and during the Civil War is often documented through the papers of others--among them, planters who bought and sold them as slaves and Union soldiers who commented upon them in letters and diaries. LSU has such resources in abundance. Papers of early African Americans themselves are more difficult to find. But Louisiana and the lower Mississippi Valley had a relatively large population of free persons of color, some of whom did leave papers. They worked as artisans in cities like New Orleans or Natchez, or were planters and even slaveholders themselves. LSU's collections of the papers of free persons of color include the papers of William Johnson of Natchez, now famed as a diarist and commentator on Southern mores.

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1st United States Infantry Regiment of Louisiana Volunteer Corps d'Afrique, Company II. Muster roll, 1863. 1 item (21 x 30.5 in.). Location: VAULT:72. In April 1863 Brigadier General Daniel Ullman was sent by the U.S. War Department to New Orleans, Louisiana, to raise a brigade of African-American troops; Major General Nathaniel P. Banks, at Opelousas, proposed the formation of the Corps d'Afrique. Muster roll identifies Edward Carter as captain, Spencer H. Stafford as colonel, and the regiment's sergeants, corporals, musicians, a teamster, and privates. Soldiers are listed by their names, and further description includes rank, time and location of enrollment, time and location mustered into service, and pay roll information. Most soldiers enrolled and were mustered in at New Orleans, while others were at Baton Rouge, St. Mary Parish, Bayou Ramos, Fort Jackson, Fort St. Leon, and Thompson Creek. Verso of item also contains lists of deceased, discharged, deserted, and resigned soldiers in the regiment. Several soldiers are listed as being killed in action before Port Hudson. Muster roll covers the period from July 1 to August 31, 1863, while pay roll covers the period from June 30 to September 1, 1863. Mss. 5379.

25th United States Colored Infantry Regiment, Company H descriptive book, 1864-1892 (bulk 1864-1865). 1 volume. Location: M:19. Books contains lists and registers of commissioned officers, non-commissioned officers, men transferred, men discharged, deaths, and deserters and a descriptive roll of Company H. The descriptive roll lists names, physical characteristics (including complexion), birthplace, occupation, enlistment information, and general remarks about company soldiers. Mss. 5374.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, African Americans

Abstract of wages paid to teachers employed in city colored schools, Memphis, Tennessee, 1864 December. 1 item. Location: Misc:A. Abstract signed by T. A. Walker, captain, 63rd United States Colored Infantry, listing wages to teachers in African American schools in Memphis, Tennessee, administered by the Freedman's Department during the Union occupation. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3092.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Education, African Americans

Acadia Plantation records, 1809-2004 (bulk 1940-1979). 49 linear ft., 30 volumes, 8 rolls. Location: 93:7-30; J:4; 75:; MAP CAGE (UNNUMBERED CASE); 1 NORTH (ON TOP OF MICROFILM CABINET). A working sugar plantation, Acadia Plantation of Lafourche Parish, Louisiana is comprised of three major properties originally known as Acadia Plantation, St. Brigitte Plantation, and Evergreen Plantation. It was acquired in 1875 by Edward J. Gay, became the residence of Representative Andrew and Mrs. Anna Gay Price. Records are comprised of correspondence, financial and legal documents, printed items, volumes, maps, plats, and photographs. Papers document business and legal affairs of the plantation owners and operators, as well as plantation operations such as sugar cane farming, the crops of tenant farmers on the property, and the planning and development of the plantation lands throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Mss. 4906.

Ada C. Pollock-Blundon Association letter, 1929 Dec. 10. 1 item. Location: MISC:A. The Blundon School and Orphanage reportedly had its beginnings at the Wesley United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge. Signed by Gertrude Snell Brown thanking Mr. Edgar M. Hurlburt for his contribution to their organization. She reports on the number of children enrolled in the home and the seven day schools, as well as the work done on the new nursery. Mss. 4905.

Referenced in Guides: Education, Baton Rouge, African Americans

African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church Women's Home and Foreign Missionary Society. Certificate, 1934. 1 item. Location: OS:A. Woman's Home and Foreign Missionary Society was organized in 1896 at Montgomery, Ala. for the purpose of supporting work in overseas fields. Membership certificate for the Foreign Missionary Society. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4134.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Women, African Americans

Aldrich, Ella V. (Ella Virginia), 1902-1982. Papers, 1921-1973. 22 items. Location: Misc. Ella V. Aldrich Schwing was a librarian at LSU, a member of the faculty of the LSU Library School, and a member of the LSU Board of Supervisors. The papers include material on the Colfax riot of 1873, an inscribed reprint of "Huey, Lyndon, and Southern Radicalism" by T. Harry Williams, a clipping of "The Legacy of Knute Heldner" from the Dixie Roto Magazine, and 15 photographic prints of plaques bearing Schwing's name on buildings at LSU System campuses. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3374.

Referenced in Guides: Women, New Orleans 1866-, African Americans, LSU

Alpha Kappa Alpha Scrapbook, ca. 1972. 1 item. Location. OS:A, Range 69. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority was the first Greek-letter organization established by African American college women. Scrapbook contains a history of the Sorority, social events and activities, poetry, and brief biographical sketches on current members of the LSUchapter, Eta Kappa. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4560.

Referenced in Guides: Women, African Americans, LSU

Alston, Solomon. Etate Document, 1809 April 27. 1 item. Location: C:61. Planter of West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Deed of manumission giving a female slave to Maria Ana Gray, niece of Solomon Alston. Conditions were outlined in Alston's will. In Spanish. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1209.

Referenced in Guides: Spanish, Plantations, Women, African Americans

Anderson, Dupuy H. Papers, 1935-1996 (bulk 1958-1963). 0.3 linear ft. Location: W:97, OS:A. Baton Rouge dentist and civil rights activist. Collection consists of correspondence, photographs, political speeches, and printed items that relate to his personal and public life. Papers focus on his community service, candidacy for mayor-president of East Baton Rouge Parish, and his involvement in the integration of East Baton Rouge Parish public schools. Mss. 5114.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Education, African Americans

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