Date of Award
Mary Niall Mitchell
In 1942, in New Orleans a group of intellectual and artistic African-Americans, led by Marcus B. Christian, formed an art club named Les Cenelles Society of Arts and Letters. Les Cenelles members both looked to New Orleans’s Afro-Creole population as the pinnacle of African American artistic achievements and used their example as a model for artists who sought to effect social change. Many of the members of Les Cenelles wrote for the Louisiana Federal Writers’ Program (FWP). A key strategy the members of Les Cenelles used to accomplish their goals was gaining the support of white civic leaders, in particular Lyle Saxon. Christian and Saxon’s relationship was unusual in the 1940s Jim Crow era in the sense that it was built upon mutual respect and admiration. This thesis examines both the efforts of Les Cenelles and the black division of the FWP, as well as Christian and Saxon’s relationship.
Wood, Derek, "“Art had almost left them:” Les Cenelles Society of Arts and Letters, The Dillard Project, and the Legacy of Afro-Creole Arts in New Orleans" (2016). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 2202.