The Amistad Research Center is pleased to announce that historian Adam Fairclough will present a talk on Reconstruction era politics and race in northern Louisiana on Thursday, May 9th, in the Amistad’s Reading Room. The talk is being held in conjunction with the Center’s current exhibition commemorating the Emancipation Proclamation. Dr. Fairclough’s talk is entitled “Raford Blunt and the Struggle for Emancipation in Natchitoches, Louisiana, 1865-1878.”
Dr. Adam Fairclough is a Professor of American History at Universiteit Leiden in the Netherlands. His areas of focus are on Reconstruction, race and politics in Louisiana, and the Civil Rights Movement. His publications include: To Redeem the Soul of America: The Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King, Jr., Race and Democracy: The Civil Rights Struggle in Louisiana, 1915-1972, Teaching Equality: Black Schools in the Age of Jim Crow, and Better Day Coming: Blacks and Equality, 1890-2000.
Dr. Fairclough’s talk will focus on Raford Blunt, a teacher, Baptist minister, Prince Hall Mason, politician in northern Louisiana, and a member of the Republican Party in Natchitoches Parish. During Congressional Reconstruction, the Republican Party attempted to make emancipation real by giving full citizenship and voting rights to former (male) slaves. Ex-slaves in cotton parishes like Natchitoches dominated politics through the strength of their votes. Adored by blacks, Blunt was feared and hated by whites. When Democrats expelled him from Natchitoches Parish at the point of a gun, the Republican party collapsed. The promise of true equality gave way to the dark period of Jim Crow.
The evening will include a reception and guided tours of Amistad’s current exhibition commemorating the Emancipation Proclamation. Those interested in attending the talk and reception can RSVP to the Center at (504) 862-3222.
Posted by Christopher Harter
(Image from the Lewis Family Papers. May not be reproduced without permission.)