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The Macksey Journal

Abstract

During the era surrounding the Civil War in the United States, a time when the country was at its most racially tense and divided, a group of writers in Southern Louisiana endangered their livelihood by publishing their essays, short stories, and poetry. This group consisted of free Creole men of color, who wrote fervently, showing that they too could create art like their white counterparts. These writers would frequently publish in black-run newspapers, often protecting themselves from violence by writing under pseudonyms. This is the case for Adolphe Duhart, who wrote emotionally and politically charged poetry under the name “Lelia D….T” in some of New Orleans most successful French language newspapers, such as La Renaissance Louisianaise and La Tribune de la Nouvelle-Orléans. Through exploring Duhart’s life as an educator, spiritualist, soldier, and prolific poet, this paper examines the influence of Duhart and his colleagues, such as Armand Lanusse, Joanni Questy, and Henry Louis Rey, on American literature and society. Through the presentation of work by Duhart, this paper answers questions about his life in New Orleans—such as the reason behind his pseudonym, how he was influential in Louisiana spiritualism, and why the newspapers he worked for were often victims of hate crimes—and uncovers a significant part African American history that has often been systematically erased.

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