Lt. Gov. C.C. Antoine

Louisiana's 3rd black lieutenant governor

Reconstruction politician, Union Army captain


Special note:

After more than two years of effort, a tombstone was dedicated at the site of the grave of former Louisiana state senator, lieutenant governor and Union Army captain C.C. Antoine. The ceremony was on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31, 1999. Present were numerous members of the congregation of the Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, the Rev. Stanley Bennett, church historian Seaborn Thomas (who remembered where Antoine was buried, allowing the ceremony to be more than a mere memorial), and historians Gary Joiner, Eric Brock and Charles McMichael. Mr. McMichael is also Northwest Louisiana Brigade commander for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, while Mr. Joiner is a member of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Their presence, equally welcomed by members of the church, offered a symmetry sadly lacking in most of these events to honor the soldiers of that conflict. Serving as the master of ceremonies was Louisiana State Rep. Cedric B. Glover.


Introduction

Research has turned up few dispassionate sources regarding Antoine. One of the most balanced accounts, though tantalizingly brief, is in the "Dictionary of American Negro Biography," edited by Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston, published by Norton, which observes that Antoine was educated in both French and English at private schools in New Orleans, and was an editor in addition to his other professions of businessman and soldier. His newspaper, the entry states, was the "New Orleans Louisianian," which published from December 25, 1870, to April 27, 1872. The entry also states he was president of the Cosmopolitan Life Insurance Company and was a partner with one of Louisiana's other Reconstruction black lieutenant governors, P.B.S. Pinchback, in a cotton factorage.

Particularly intriguing in the entry, however, is the mention that after 1887, he served as a vice president of New Orleans' Comite des Citoyens, formed in 1890 by free people of color to fight legal battles against discrimination. The committee challenged Louisiana's 1890 Jim Crow Law, engaging a part-black New Orleanian, Homer Plessy, to test the public accommodations portions of the legislation. This became the celebrated "Plessy Vs. Ferguson" case of 1896 that led to the Supreme Court of the United States upholding for the first time the doctrine of "separate but equal." While far from perfect in terms of guaranteeing civil rights, the decision was nonetheless important in that it established in national law the recognition of equality in civil rights for people of all races, which was a necessary precondition for the successive civil rights legislations that have followed in this century.

Thus it can be seen that Antoine was an important, though low-key, player in the seminal stages of the civil rights movement. He is long overdue recognition for this role.

A brief list of sources for those researchers desiring more information on Antoine is at the end of this entry.

Readers can also contact the webmaster to share information they may have regarding Antoine.


Late Notices

Here, in its entirety, is the obituary notice for C.C. Antoine, printed in the Shreveport (evening) Journal on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 1921. It is interesting to note that the newspapers of the time were not wont to print obituaries for black people, prominent or otherwise. The mere publication of an extensive obituary such as this, at the top of the page, center, and the tone of the piece itself, indicate the esteem with which Capt. Antoine was held in the community:

"Negro, Once Lieutenant-Governor of Louisiana, Dies in Shreveport"

"C.C. Antoine, negro, who served as lieutenant governor of Louisiana during the reconstruction period, and several times was acting governor of the state in the early seventies, died here Monday at the age of 85 years. He was a native of New Orleans.

Antoine's death occurred at his home, 19[4]1 Perrin Street, and funeral services will be held Thursday at noon from the St. Paul M.E. Church, and will be conducted by members of the negro Masonic fraternity. Interment will be at Flournoy, La., where Antoine formerly owned a large amount of land, including the present site of the parish farm. Rev. J.L. Wilson, pastor of St. Paul's church, assisted by several other negro ministers, will officiate at the funeral service, with burial in charge of C.C. Cook, undertaker.

During the reconstruction period, Antoine was one of the leading political powers in the state. He first entered Louisiana politics as a candidate for state senator, to which position he was elected. At the expiration of his term, in 1872, he was elected lieutenant governor, and after serving four years, was re-elected. For a period of several weeks, in 1876, he was acting governor, and issued a number of official orders.

Antoine was born in New Orleans in 1836. His father was a veteran of the War of 1812, and fought against the British at the Battle of New Orleans. His mother was a native of the West Indies, and his grandmother on his father's side was a native of Africa, and, according to native tradition, a daughter of an African chieftain. She was reputed to have purchased her liberty from slavery, and accumulated a fortune of $150,000.

Before engaging in public life, Antoine engaged in a number of successful business ventures. When federal troops occupied the city of New Orleans and opened their ranks to negroes, he aligned himself with the "Native Guards," and recruited Company I, Seventh Louisiana negro regiment. As captain of the company he served at Brashear, now Morgan, City, and several other points in the Southern department. He removed to Shreveport upon the declaration of peace, and opened a family grocery here. With the enfranchisement of negroes and reconstruction, he was drawn into politics, being elected finally to the constitutional convention held at that time. He served successively as state senator and lieutenant governor, and a number of times served as governor.

He held public office throughout the entire reconstruction period, being deposed only when negro rule was broken in Louisiana.

Pall-bearers at Antoine's funeral Thursday will be: Dr. D.A. Smith, G.A. Cain, William Gozy, William Wallace, J.C. Mills, Fred Stewman, R.E. Brown, H.S. Davis, R.P. Player, Will Walker, J.M. Carter, E.L. Marshall, Charles M. Roberson, A.A. Pradd, G.D. Moore, W.E. Griffin and I.S. Stokes.

Antoine will be buried beside his wife, who died in February."



Antoine Genealogy

The lineage of C.C. Antoine is being traced. Results so far show the following family groups:

Descendants of Unknown Antoine

1 Dominique Antoine
............+ Marie (Mary) ?
......... 2 Caesar Carpentier Antoine 1836 - 1921
............. +Arissa Gabriel
......... *2nd Wife of Caesar Carpentier Antoine:
............. +Maria Sylvania Ross 1846 - 1921
.................... 3 Hannah Maria Antoine 1862 -??
........................ +Morris Coleman 1864 -??
............................... 4 Georgy A. Coleman 1884 -??
................................... +Nathaniel J. Cross 1888 -??
........................................... 5 Cyril Lee Cross 1914 -??
............................... 4 Mariah B. Coleman 1886 -??
................................... +Isaac Eppes ??
............................... 4 Lorinza M. Coleman 1888 -??
................................... +Jeremiah Strange ??
............................... 4 Minnie D. Coleman 1890 -??
............................... 4 Valeria I. Coleman 1891 -??
................................... +Ambrose Guidry 1897 -??
........................................... 5 Mable Guidry 1914 -??
............................... 4 Albertine E. Coleman 1895 -??
.................... 3 Vincent Antoine 1866 -??
......... 2 Felix Antoine 1848 -??
............. +Elizabeth Hutchinson 1840 -??
.................... 3 Louis Antoine 1865 -??
........................ +Mittie Minter ??
............................... 4 Oneida Antoine ??
.................... 3 Mary E. Antoine 1868 -??
........................ +George S. Daugherty??
............................... 4 Alphonse Daugherty 1901 - 1960
................................... +Effie Lee Thomas 1903 - 1998
.................... 3 Antoinette Antoine 1871 -??
........................ +David D. Minter ??
.................... 3 Felix Antoine, Jr. 1879 -??
........................ +Louise Bennett
............................... 4 Juanita Antoine
............................... 4 Tamlin Lincoln Carpentier Antoine I
................................... +Katherine Hayes
........................................ 5 Tamlin Lincoln Carpentier Antoine II
............................................ +Jacqueline Long
............................................... 6 Janine Antoine
............................................... 6 Tamlin Lincoln Carpentier Antoine III
............................................... 6 Miquel Antoine
.........................................5 Suzanne Antoine

Sources:

  • "Men of Mark," by William J. Simmons, 1887.
  • "Black New Orleans 1860-1880," by John W. Blassingame, 1973.
  • "Our People and Our History," translated and edited by Sr. Dorothea Olga McCants, 1973, based on Rodolphe Lucien Desdune's "Nos Hommes et Notre Hostoire," 1911.
  • "Dictionary of American Negro Biography," edited by Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston.
  • Files on the 7th Louisiana Colored Infantry and the 64th Regiment U.S. Colored Troops, U.S. Army Military History Institute at Carlisle Barracks, Carlisle, Pa.
  • "Compendium of the Ware of the Rebellion," by Frederick H. Dyer, 1979 reprint.
  • Civil War pension file of C.C. Antoine, National Archives of the United States.
  • "Shreveport Journal," September 14, 1921.


    Resources

    The following are several useful Civil War resources on the World Wide Web:


    Contact

    Questions or comments about C.C. Antoine can be directed to japrime@earthlink.net .


    This page was created on March 11, 1997. It is updated as necessary.

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    Copyright © 1997-2000 John Andrew Prime. All rights reserved. Permission to quote is granted if this page is cited as the source.