BlackFacts Details

African Americans in Louisiana

African Americans in Louisiana are residents of the state of Louisiana who are of African-American ancestry.

Between 1723 and 1769, most African slaves imported to Louisiana were from modern day Senegal and Congo, many thousands being imported to Louisiana from there.[1] A large number of the imported slaves from the Senegambia region were members of the Wolof and Bambara ethnic groups. Saint-Louis and Goree Island were sites where a great number of slaves destined for Louisiana departed from Africa.[2] During the Spanish control of Louisiana, between 1770 and 1803, most of the slaves still came from the Congo and the Senegambia region but they imported also more slaves from modern day Benin.[3] Many slaves imported during this period were members of the Nago people, a Yoruba subgroup.[4]

The slaves brought with them their cultural practices, languages, and religious beliefs rooted in spirit and ancestor worship, which were key elements of Louisiana Voodoo.[3] In addition, in the late nineteenth century, many Afro-Haitians also migrated to Louisiana, contributing to the Voodoo tradition of the state.

During the American period (1804-1820), almost half of the African slaves came from the Congo.[5] [6]

Before the American Civil War (1861 to 1865), African Americans comprised the majority of the population in the state, with most being enslaved and working as laborers on sugar cane and cotton plantations.

Tens of thousands left in the Great Migration in the first half of the 20th century, seeking work and political opportunities elsewhere. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, African Americans were 31.2% of the states population.[7]

There are six historically black colleges established in Louisiana. The Southern University System is the first and only HBCU college system in the country.