Sunday, March 29, 2015

Givonna Joseph Sings 'Le Serment de l'Arabe' of Edmund Dédé at 125th Anniversary of Death of Civil Rights Pioneer Dr. Louis Charles Roudanez

Edmund Dédé
Hot Springs Music Festival

Richard Rosenberg, Conductor 
Naxos 8.559038 (2000)

which features a comprehensive Works List and a Bibliography
by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma,

Grave Marker Dedication
Memorial Forum
​Dr. Louis Charles Roudanez
(12 June 1823 - 11 March 1890)

Founder of L'Union and
La Tribune De La Nouvelle Orleans

Upon the 125th Anniversary of His Death

Wednesday, The Eleventh of March
Two Thousand and Fifteen

Mark Roudané and Givonna Joseph at the Roudanez tomb

Mark Roudané, Mrs. Roudané, Givonna Joseph, Beverly McKenna, and Far right...Jari C. Honora at Le Musée de f.p.c.

Givonna Joseph writes:

Hello Mr. Zick and Dr. de Lerma,

I wanted to share this story of Dr. Louis Charles Roudanez, a contemporary of Edmond Dédé with you in an attempt to play a small part in the efforts to reclaim his legacy. I know your blog is read around the world, so I hope it is appropriate to include.

Dr. Louis Charles Roudanez

On March 11, mezzo-soprano Givonna Joseph​, founder of OperaCréole, had the honor of singing in events honoring Dr. Louis Charles Roudanez (1823-1890), on the 125th anniversary of his death​.  He is ​a great 19th Century civil rights pioneer that deserves greater recognition.  

​The morning event was ​the re-dedication of his​ tomb​. Schubert's Ave Maria was
performed in Créole, and Malotte's​ Lord's Prayer closed the service.

A memorial forum ​held afterwards included a family history presentation given in French by Madame Docteur Catherine Jouve, his descendant from Paris! 

​That evening, ​Ms. Joseph sang the revolutionary Le Serment de l'Arabe, written by his contemporary, free composer of color ​Edmond Dédé.​

The reception was held ​at the beautiful Le Musée de f.p.c. (free people of color). ​There, Ms. Joseph was surprised to learn that two of her ancestors were his medical patients!!​

​Dr. Louis Charles Roudanez, ​Born in Louisiana as a ​free man of color, he was a N​ew​ O​rleans​ physician (trained in Paris and at Dartmouth U.), an early champion of freedom​, and journalist. In 186​2 ​he founded L'Union, a newspaper advocating civil rights that was published in French and English, and in 1864,​ 
La Tribune de la Nouvelle Orléans. This revolutionary paper became the first black daily newspaper in the country!   

In 1868, ​97 ​years before Dr. King led the march to Selma.....Dr. Roudanez​ and a band of "Radical Republicans" crafted a state constitution that gave all free persons the right to vote in Louisiana,  resulting in the first African Americans (highly learned men) ​to be elected to​ any state legislature in the country.  But, the departure of federal troops in 1876 signaled the end of the hopeful Reconstruction era!

The events were organized by historian​,​ Mr. Jari C. ​Honora, Le Musée founder, Beverly McKenna, and Roundanez's great-great grandson, Mark Roudané. Mark​
did not know he was descendant from a free man of color until 2007 when his father died. But he and other descendants have embraced ​their heritage​, and ​have honored him so beautifully through dedications and celebrations!

Mark Roudané said "My great-great grandfather truly believed that radical ideals could be achieved. How different the United States would be today if race relations had normalized in the way he imagined. I feel as if I am standing on Roudanez's shoulders, and he's telling me to speak out on issues of race and justice. Thanks for holding me up Grandpa!'​ 

​D​escendants came from ​as far Minnesota and Mexico and Paris​. A representative from Dartmouth University also attended.

​See more on Dr. Roudanez in the present-day version of the paper he founded.

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