“Affranchi is a former French legal term denoting a freedman or emancipated slave. It is used in English to describe the class of freedmen in Saint-Domingue and other slave-holding French territories, who held legal rights intermediate between those of free whites and enslaved Africans. In Saint-Domingue, roughly half of the affranchis were gens de couleur libres (free people of color; Mulatto) and the other half African slaves.
The affranchis had legal and social advantages over enslaved Africans. They became a distinct class in the society between whites and slaves. They could get some education, were able to own land, and could attend some French colonial entertainments. Planters who took slave women or free women of color as concubines often sent their sons to France for education and, in some cases, to enter the military. They were more likely to settle property on them as well. Because of such property and class issues, some free men of color considered themselves to have status above that of the petits blancs, shopkeepers and workers. Nonetheless, the latter had more political rights in the colony until after the Revolution.
Ambitious mulattoes worked to gain acceptance from the white colonists who held power in that society. As they advanced in society, affranchis often also held land and slaves. Some acted as creditors for planters. One of their leaders in the late 18th century, Julien Raimond, an indigo planter, claimed that affranchis owned a third of all the slaves in the colony at that time. In the early years of the French Revolution and Haitian Revolution, many gens de couleur were committed to maintaining the institution of slavery. They wanted political equality based on class – that is, extended for men of property, regardless of skin color.” WIKIPEDIA
6 responses to “Affranchi”
Fascinating and I learned alot. Thanks for posting~
The painting speaks a thousand words!
wow, i had no idea –
Things are never as they seem.
Fascinating, Adrienne and again human nature never fails to astound me. After winning that level of emancipation many of them still believed in slavery and its role within society!
It seems to be a common thing. Once people move up the ladder they tend to want to keep someone else down. That’s why the rare people who offer a hand in this world (often times at their own expense) should be greatly celebrated–they go so against human nature. 🙂
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