150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation

On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, extending freedom to those enslaved within states rebelling against the Union.  Soon thereafter, nearly 200,000 African Americans enlisted in the fight to free millions from slavery.

2012-12-31_093232That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free;…”  Abraham Lincoln

Where was Pelagie on this day in history?  She was at home in the Amoureux House with her family, most likely enjoying this momentous day.  As a “free woman of color” Pelagie had certain legal rights, but she was always at risk of being kidnapped back into slavery.

The Emancipation Proclamation hadn’t freed those still enslaved in Missouri, but freedom for all was on its way.

Happy 180th Anniversary Pelagie & Felix!

180 years ago today, on June 11, 1832, Pelagie and her sixteen month old son Felix, both born into slavery, are declared free!

This is a photo of the Emancipation Document for Pelagie and Felix

Emancipation document of Pelagie and Felix 

This document reads:

Know all men by these present, that I, Felicite Beauvais, of the Town and County of Ste. Genevieve, State of Missouri, Widow, for divers good and sufficient consideration moving me thereto, have emancipated and set free, and from and after the date of these present, do emancipate and forever make and set free, my mulatto woman and heretofore my slave, named Pelagie, aged about twenty six years, and also her son named Felix, aged about sixteen months; hereby releasing the said Pelagie and Felix from all bondage and services due from them to me, my heirs, executors and administrators, and all and every other person wherein soever, the same as if the said Pelagie and Felix had never been slaves.

Testimony whereof I have herewith set my hand and seal, this 11th day of June A.D. 1832.

Signed, Sealed and delivered in presence of,

Felix Valle

Bmy Duroches                                               Felicet Beauvais      (seal)

(Bartholomew Durocher)                                      (Felicite)

Student Artwork – Slavery and Courage Expressed in the Digital Age

THANK YOU students and teachers from Ste. Genevieve High School, Valle Catholic School, and Nerinx Hall in St. Louis.  You’ve created your own expressions of Pelagie’s life, and welcomed her into the Digital Age.  There wasn’t room to post every art project, but here are some great samples for you to see.

this is a photo of a pastel drawing of a faceless woman and child approaching the steps to the Amoureux House.

pastel drawing

The walls of the Amouruex House were covered with beautiful art for the launch of the website on October 15, 2011.  Some students had the chance to meet Pelagie’s ancestors in person.

This is a poem written by a student and also a photo of the Amoureux family on the porch of their house.

This is a photo of a canvas bag with a painted drawing of the Amoureux House.

hand painted bag

This is a photo of a Jeopardy game with answers and questions about Pelagie and her life as a slave and a free woman.

Jeopardy game

This is a photo of a make believe FaceBook page for Pelagie Amoureux.

Imagine Pelagie knowing that her story was brought to life by students via poetry, electronic game shows, paintings, song writing, FaceBook pages, script writing, music video, 180 years after receiving her freedom.  Who would she “friend”? What would she “tweet”?

You’ve taken the important messages from Pelagie, about knowing your roots, freedom, self-esteem, law, truth, and family…and have helped make them timeless.  As Pelagie had the courage to push open the doors of freedom in post colonial times, you now are helping to make sure those doors remain open for all today.

Pass on the new shorter version of the website address www.AmHouse.org so others can hear Pelagie’s story, and drop by the many historic houses in town when you’re nearby.

Pre-launch student group

Welcome “pre-launch” students to AmoureuxHouse.org.  You’ve been selected to be the first users of the site!  We hope to post many of your projects on the BLOG.

Film crew

The team members who created this site live many miles from each other.  The designers are in California, the writers in New York, the actors are in St. Louis, the historians Ste. Genevieve, and our engineer even lives in Mexico, but they all came together thanks to today’s technology.

Enjoy exploring the site.  Analyze, dig deep, imagine life through Pelagie’s eyes, and have fun with your projects.

See you all at the official launch event at the Amoureux House on Oct. 15th!

Welcome to the Amoureux House Blog

Official website launch October 15th, 2011