When Toussaint Said No
A Story of Slavery, Resistance, and a Louisiana Sugar Plantation's Ties to Xavier University
Tuesday, Feb. 16, 7:00 pm
In the summer of 1858, a man named Toussaint, one of many enslaved on the sugar plantations of southern Louisiana, killed his master, Constant Melançon. This incident serves as the focal point of a research project on the sociocultural dynamics of St. James Parish, a largely French-speaking area on the Mississippi River, from Louisiana's colonial period up to the Civil War. Like many families there, the Melançons were of Acadian background, their ancestors having been deported by the British from Nova Scotia in the mid-18th century before settling in lower Louisiana. This talk explores the history of the Melançon family as a case study to understand the role of Acadians in the sugar industry, the experiences of Afro-Creoles and African Americans enslaved by them, and the links to Xavier University, where Constant and his brothers studied in the 1840s.