The Rise of Black Catholic Women in 19th Century New Orleans

Professor Emily Clark will discuss the lives of Black Catholic women such as Venerable Henriette Delille in the context of late 18th century and 19th century life in New Orleans, offering background on the many unique features of life in New Orleans.


The region’s development under French and Spanish rule brought the enslavement and transport of African people, Code Noir, color labels such as quadroon, the creolization of culture and religion, and how free women of color such as Henriette Delille, Juliette Gaudin, and Josephine Charles were able to found the second successful religious community of Black Catholic women, the Sisters of the Holy Family, in the United States.


Emily Clark is the Clement Chambers Benenson Professor in American Colonial History at Tulane University. She specializes in early American and Atlantic world history, with a focus on the French Atlantic. Her research interests include slavery, race, gender, religion and historical memory.
Research Interests
Early America and the Atlantic World, particularly the Francophone Atlantic, including Africa. I am especially interested in the ways that the history of places like Louisiana and the French Antilles can illuminate the development of racial, ethnic, and national identities in the wider Atlantic world and in other parts of colonial and early national America. Recent books include New Orleans, Louisiana, and Saint-Louis, Senegal: Mirror Cities in the Atlantic World, 1659–2000s, edited with Ibrahima Thioub and Cécile Vidal (2019) and The Strange History of the American Quadroon, which historicizes the figures of the quadroon and the “tragic mulatta,” their links with Haiti and New Orleans, and the role they have played in shaping national American memory and identity. Her teaching interests include Atlantic world history, early North America, America and the Caribbean in the Revolutionary Age, Louisiana and New Orleans, religion, gender, and the history of race and race relations. Also, archival skills and paleography and the development of web-based student projects. I especially enjoy introducing students at all levels to rich colonial and early national manuscript records housed in New Orleans archives and am a collaborator on ViaNolaVie and New Orleans Historical


May 09 2023


7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


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