Southern originally began in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1880, after a group of black politicians, P.B.S. Pinchback, Theophile T. Allain, and Henry Demas petitioned the State Constitutional Convention in 1879, in order to establish an institution of higher learning for “colored people.”
Historically, Louisiana’s “African American Francophone” origins have consisted of several primary groups: the Acadians (better known today as the Cajuns), the Creoles, and the Colonial French Francophone’s. Seeing and observing the Acadians were Frenchmen who moved to and settled in the eastern most provinces of Canada, mainly in the Nova Scotia area during the early 17th century. In 1682, the French claimed what came to be known as the Louisiana Territory or “La Louisiane,” an immense parcel of land named in honor of King Louis XIV. In 1699, French explored the area where Baton Rouge is now located by none other than Pierre Le Moyne D’Iberville’s.
In 1718, the French are alleged to have constructed a fort near the area to protect travelers from New Orleans to northern outposts. The Baton Rouge area then belonged to France. The area was transferred to England by the treaty of Paris in 1763. Following this, the settlement was renamed New Richmond. Although the Acadians thrived in this area, they were expelled from their land by the British Government beginning in 1755.
Theophile T. Allain, raised as a slave on the Australian Plantation in West Baton Rouge. While Some Acadians returned to France while others settled along the United States’ east coast and in Louisiana. Bringing Creole communities in Louisiana historically came from the State’s slave population. Although slavery was still alive and well, some areas were diminishing the strict recognizance where most colored children during these times were kept with pending slave papers, his father, Sosthene Allain, was the owner of both the plantation and of him and his mother.
Louisiana’s slaves mainly come from the Senegambian region of Africa, and Louisiana Creole arose from their communication with their French-speaking masters. Thus, where the term “African American Francophone” was born and mostly affluent of the speakers exuded sentiments that historically, would soon be what transformed by Africans but mainly Colonial French Francophone’s as a variety of French that arrived with French colonists and or also American Francophone’s civilizations throughout the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.
Essayist Onésime Reclus around 1880 discover the origin behind the general Francophone term. From Anglophones English-speakers, Latinophone, Latin-speakers to Hispanophones Spanish-speakers to Lusophones or Portuguese-speaking and we all cannot forget Swedophone for Swedish-Speakers! Colonial French Francophone’s language has been spoken by a wide variety of groups in Louisiana, from free people of color, to plantation owners, to Native American tribes.
As a point to reference, Mr. Allain even though he was a slave, his father in fact was a very admonishing father towards him and gave him special accents like eating at the table with him, traveling to Europe with him, and even ensuring him an education when he was around the age of nine years old.
Given the history of English and Spanish colonial expansion into North America, it’s easy to forget New France, a vast territory where the French Francophone’s had a significant stake in the New World. Things started to get better for the African American Francophone, Allain, to the point when he became the owner of his father’s plantation. The Louisiana city of Baton Rouge still retains much of its French-infused Francophone heritage, and many of its residents hold on to aspects of French and European culture that date back to colonial times, including language, culture and cuisine. In 1872, Allain then got into politics and worked alongside P.B.S Pinchback. He served as a state legislator in the 14th district and helped contribute to the opening of Southern University.
Baton Rouge’s flourishing Francophone population is bar none the most recognized civilization of Louisiana’s culture! Recognizing African American & Black History is vital to our student body and organizational heritage.