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Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New OrleansThe Life and Times of Henry Louis Rey$
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Melissa Daggett

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781496810083

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496810083.001.0001

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(p.61) Chapter 4 Steppingstones
Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans

Melissa Daggett

University Press of Mississippi

The chapter describes the early black suffrage movement in New Orleans in which Henry Rey played a key role as an activist in the political arena and as a medium who contacted martyrs and heroes of both races. André Cailloux and John Crowder, fallen black heroes at the Battle of Port Hudson, visited the séance circle and delivered inspiring words that they were steppingstones for liberty. The suffrage movement began even before the Civil War ended in packed halls such as the Economy Hall. The chapter highlights the popularity of Valmour, a charismatic black medium, and describes his connection to voodoo. The chapter ends with a description of the Mechanics’ Institute Massacre in 1866. The horrific event was often referred to as the “Day of Black Independence,” and martyrs like A. P. Dostie and Victor Lacroix later appeared at séance circles to extol the black Creoles in their quest for equality.

Keywords:   Cailloux, medium, Economy Hall, Voodoo, Mechanics’ Institute

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