Henry Louis Rey x L’Union

Special Collections, Louisiana State University Libraries, Louisiana State University via In Motion AAME

New Orleans:

“An 1862 editorial written by a newly enlisted Union officer, Afro-Creole Romantic writer Henry Louis Rey, urged free men of color to join the U.S. Army and take up “the cause of the rights of man.” Rey invoked the names of Jean-Baptiste Chavannes and Vincent Ogé. Their ill-fated 1790 revolt had paved the way for the Haitian Revolution:

“CHAVANNE [sic] and OGÉ did not wait to be aroused and to be made ashamed; they hurried unto death; they became martyrs here on earth and received on high the reward due to generous hearts…hasten all; our blood only is demanded; who will hesitate?”

“The editors of L’Union described Rey and the Afro-Creole troops as the “worthy grandsons of the noble [Col. Joseph] Savary.” The paper insisted that military service entitled them to the political equality that had been denied their ancestors who fought valiantly in the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Furthermore, its editors warned, the men had resolved to “protest against all politics which would tend to expatriate them.”

When federal officials undermined their suffrage campaign, Afro-Creole leaders took their case to the highest level. In 1864 L’Union cofounder Jean-Baptiste Roudanez and E. Arnold Bertonneau, a former officer in the Union army, met with President Abraham Lincoln; they urged him to extend voting rights to all Louisianians of African descent….”

via In Motion: The African American Migration Experience: AAME



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