African Americans

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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Palfi, Stevenson J. Papers, 1960-1997. 9 items. Locations: MISC:P, OS:P. Music documentarian originally from Chicago, Illinois. Papers include a concert poster, three photographic prints, three picture postcards, a letter, and a Christmas card. Concert poster shows Allen Toussaint, Tuts Washington, and Professor Longhair (circa 1983). Picture postcards are advertisements for an airing of Palfi's "Piano Players Rarely Ever Play Together" documentary. Photographic prints are of Palfi with Toussaint, Glen Campbell, and Martin Sheen. Mss. 5344.

Palfrey Family Papers, 1776-1918. (bulk 1806-1875). 388 items; 21 vols. Location: 77:89, H:22, Mss.Mf:P, 99. Family of planters, businessmen, politicians, public servants and author. Papers of John Palfrey (1768-1843) relate chiefly to the operation of Forlorn Hope Plantation, education of his sons, War of 1812, and reflect plantation life. Topics include the trade embargo, West Florida Controversy and the capture of Baton Rouge, War of 1812, slavery, cotton and salt production, and banking. Family papers pertain to Civil War battles, plantation economics, Confederate government, and Reconstruction. Papersof William Palfrey concern Ricahoc Plantation and a partnership David Weeks. They also discuss the Clinton and Port Hudson Railroad Company (1841-1842). Some items in French and Spanish. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm 6061 and 5322: University Publications of America Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 6, Reel 12; Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War, Series I, Part 1, Reels 1-4. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 333, 334, 1409, 1442, 1632, 2076, 2580, 2773, 2857.

Pardo, Jean. Papers, 1837-1846. 7 items. Location: Misc:P. Resident of New Orleans. Papers consisting of mortgages, acts of sale for slaves, and a document (1846) of L. B. Macarty containing instructions for the manumission of his slaves. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1862.

Parish, Robert T. Diary. 1861. 1 vol. photocopy. Location: B:66. Itinerant Methodist minister assigned to northern Rapides Parish, Louisiana. He married Judity Merrill in 1850, and they had a son and daughter at the time the diary was written. Diary begins with Parish's tenure in the vicinity of Alexandria, Louisiana, and reflects the day-to-day life of an itinerant minister. He comments on Catholicism, excitement over the Civil War, and the religious failings of his charges, African American and white. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4564.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Civil War, African Americans

Parker, Edward G. Letter, 1859 October 5. 1 item. Location: Misc. Secretary and treasurer of the Charleston and Savannah Railroad Company. Letter encloses a check for the wages of a slave hired to work on the railroad. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2897.

Referenced in Guides: Transportation, Business, African Americans

Patterson, John K. Deposition, 1841. 1 item. Location: Misc.:P. Slave-related deposition given by New Orleans resident John K. Patterson in reference to his service on a Grand Jury while living in Vicksburg, Miss., in 1838. He mentions a particular criminal complaint against John W. Edgerton, "then Master of the Steamer George Washington preferred by Richard Christmas charging said Edgerton with having carried off two negroes belonging to said Christmas on said steamer in violation of the laws of Mississippi..." Deposition signed by New Orleans mayor William Freret. Mss. 5316.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, African Americans

Payne, Cornelius Bricknell. Slave bill of sale, 1853 April 7. 1 item. Location: OS:P. Slave bill of sale documents the transfer of a 24-year-old mulatto slave named John from Payne to Harriet Smith, a free woman of color, both of New Orleans. The document also states that Harriet Smith and John lived as man and wife for six years and that she intended to emancipate him as soon as possible. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3666.

Payne, Lutrill Amos, Sr. Scrapbook, 1951-1988 (bulk 1951). 1 scrapbook. Location: 19:10. Lutrill Amos Payne Sr. filed suit to integrate the Louisiana State University Graduate School to study agriculture. He won a judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in 1951. This 15-page scrapbook kept by Payne contains clippings, telegrams, and other items documenting his legal efforts to enroll in the Louisiana State University Graduate School and his attendance there in the summer of 1951. A smaller number of items concern events in Payne's life between 1953 and 1988. Mss. 5086.

Referenced in Guides: African Americans, LSU

Pease, E. M. Record book, 1866, 1897-1904. 1 vol. Location: M:20. Surgeon in charge, 9th Regiment, U.S. Colored Troops, stationed at Greenville, Louisiana. Register and prescription book of the Medical Department of the U.S. Army kept by Dr. Pease. Entries list soldiers by name, rank, company, and include comments on ailments and nature of prescriptions. Later entries are an account by E. M. Pease, Jr., as a child in California (1897-1899, 1901). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1303.

Referenced in Guides: African Americans, Medicine

Peirce, C. Letter, 1832. 1 letter. Location: Misc. Letter from C. Peirce of Baton Rouge, La., to the City Bank of New Orleans at Baton Rouge, requesting a loan of $3,200 on mortgage of his plantation south of Baton Rouge and on 14 slaves. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 238.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Baton Rouge, African Americans

Percy, J. H. (John Hereford). Papers, 1717-1978 (bulk 1905-1956). 2.5 linear ft., 23 manuscript volumes. Location: 48:3-4, OS:P. Author of The Percy Family of Mississippi and Louisiana, 1776-1943. Papers consist of genealogical research materials including correspondence, genealogy notes, family histories, transcriptions (mostly typescripts) of historical documents, and manuscript volumes created, compiled, and collected by J. H. Percy. Most genealogy research materials are related to Percy's creation of his book. There are also some business papers related to Percy's real estate, banking, development, and insurance activities in Louisiana and Mississippi. Mss. 4759.

Pereboom, Margaret, 1928-2008. Papers, 1977-1988 (bulk:1979-1982). 3.5 linear feet. Location: U:313-316; OS:P. A child psychologist who served as a member of the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board and as chair of Louisiana Women in Politics. Consists of correspondence, legal files, office files and statistical reports related to the desegregation case, Davis vs. East Baton Rouge Parish School Board, as well as administrative files for Louisiana Women in Politics and research materials on the role of women in elected office. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4958.

Perkins, Huel D. Papers, 1952-1990 (bulk 1978-1990). 9 linear ft. Location: 33A:31-35, OS:P. Faculty member at Louisiana State University, where he served as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (1979-1990) and as Executive Assistant to the Chancellor and Special Assistant to the Chancellor (1990-1998). In 1988, Governor Buddy Roemer appointed him to the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE). The collection documents the business affairs of BESE during Huel D. Perkins' tenure on the Board. Materials consist of minutes, correspondence, speeches, reports, and printed material. Subject matter relates to state and federal regulations, vocational/technical education, educational reforms, special education, and the Louisiana Quality Education Support Fund, also known as the 8(g) Fund.The collection also pertains to Perkins' involvement in higher education and the study of the humanities during his tenure as professor and administrator at Southern University and Louisiana State University. Mss. 4155.

Perret family papers, 1838-1841. 4 items. Location: Misc. Copies of acts of sale of slaves and receipt for sale by members of the Perret and the related St. Martin families of St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 753.

Referenced in Guides: African Americans

Perry, Roderick. Document, 1814. 1 item. Location: Misc. Resident of Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Sale of slaves by Perry to Benjamin Kendrick. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 342.

Referenced in Guides: African Americans

Peters, Emma Dell, 1941-, interviewee. Oral history interview, 1993. 1 sound cassette (45 minutes), Index (6 pages). Location: L:4700.0283. Resident of Four Corners, an unincorporated community south of Franklin, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana. Peters lived on Sterling Plantation; her great-grandparents were slaves. For 26 years, Peters worked as a cook in the school system. Peters gives an account of her great-grandparents' purchases as slaves, and discusses slave religion, the treatment of slaves, and female slaves who bore children for their white masters. Included are spirituals she learned from her grandparents. Peters also gives accounts of illnesses, funeral customs, early jobs she held, poverty in her youth, and discipline and life in her large family. She also discusses Civil Rights legislation. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4700.0283.

Peters, Samuel. Papers, 1835. 2 items. Location: Misc.:P. Letter from the New Orleans, Louisiana, chairman of an anti-abolitionist society responds favorably to anti-abolitionist activity in Philadelphia. Includes a copy of a resolution adopted by the New Orleans group announcing open support for the Philadelphia group. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2897.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, African Americans

Peterson, Clara Gottschalk. Published music, 1909. 1 printed vol. Location: OS:P. Revised edition of "Creole Songs From New Orleans in the Negro-Dialect Set to Music" by Clara Gottschalk Peterson. Published by the L. Grunewald Co., Ltd., New Orleans, 1909. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2143.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans 1866-, African Americans

Peterson, Pattie P. Papers, 1962-1977. 4.3 linear feet. Location: 43:1-4, OS:P. Correspondence, notes, logs, and printed materials of Pattie P. Peterson (1916-ca. 1977?), state employee, member of Baton Rouge Council on Human Relations, and an advocate of civil rights. Correspondence pertains to race relations in Baton Rouge and the state and efforts to establish charity and volunteer programs. Notes and logs seem to be her record of what her contacts in the African American community told her about their attitudes about race relations and events in Baton Rouge. Printed materials include the newsletters of the Baton Rouge Council on Human Relations and the Unitarian Fellowship of Baton Rouge, as well as articles, publications and pamphlets regarding African American education, race relations in Louisiana, the South, and the United States, and poverty.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Education, Baton Rouge, African Americans

Peterson, Pattie P. Papers, 1955-1977. 3.0 linear ft. Location: Y; 95-97, OS:P. Resident of Baton Rouge, La., civil servant, and civil rights advocate. Correspondence, logs, and notes, and printed material relative to race relations and desegregation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the civil rights movement in the nation. Papers also reflect Peterson’s involvement in public welfare organizations, including the Louisiana Commission on Human Relations, Rights, and Responsibilities and the Baton Rouge Council on Human Relations. Correspondence also relates to family matters and the civil service system in Louisiana. Printed materials include the newsletters of the Baton Rouge Council on Human Relations. Mss. 2955.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Women, Education, African Americans