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Vincent Ogé, affranchis delegate from Saint-Domingue.
Essentially French colonial Saint-Domingue (now Haiti) had three main social classes: French planters (grands blancs), affranchi landholders, and slaves of African ancestry. The affranchi were mostly light-skinned (mulattoes) free persons of color, the offspring of white French men and African women. As such, the affranchi had legal and social advantages over the slave classes. They were able to own land and attend some French colonial entertainments. They could not hold administrative posts or work as doctors or lawyers. They were also forbidden to wear the style of clothes favored by the wealthy white colonists. In spite of the disadvantages, many affranchi identified themselves culturally with France rather than with the enslaved population.

Yet many whites detested them. In fact, the term affranchi, meaning "ex-slave" was an insult term, designed to remind wealthy men and women who had been born in freedom that whites considered them still to be ex-slaves, because of their African ancestry. Whites' belief that anything linked with Africa, even by the slightest drop of blood, was abject and debasing and identified with being inferior. Mulattoes had reasoned that they had to distance themselves from their African roots in an attempt to receive more acceptance from the white colonists. One of their leaders, the indigo planter Julien Raimond, claimed they owned a third of all the slaves in the colony. Many were committed to maintaining slavery in the early years of the French Revolution and Haitian Revolution.

See also



  • Affranchi. (2005, November 13). Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:57, December 5, 2005 [1].