Jessica Pierre-Louis

La barriera del colore alla Martinica. Liberi di colore che si spacciano per bianchi (secoli XVII-XVIII)

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Colonial society in eighteenth-century Martinique consisted of three legal categories: slaves, free people of color, and whites. During this period the French colonial administration tried to maintain a hierarchy embodied by the color bar that separated free people of color and whites in order to address concerns about the colonial order. This policy gave birth to color prejudice reinforced by segregationist and discriminatory regulations that disenfranchised free people of color from the rights that confer citizenship. Because of the absence of legal access to the civil rights of the dominant class of whites, free people of color developed individual strategies to achieve upwards mobility in colonial society. One strategy in particular, the whitening of lineage, caught our attention: through miscegenation some individuals purported to be white.

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