"Black Bordeaux and the Search for Refuge After Revolution"
The itineraries of over 150 people of color who sought passports to leave Bordeaux, France between the 1790s and 1830 run counter to most histories of the Atlantic Slave Trade and Black migration. The vast majority of them were free and traveling on their own account. Some had been born on the African continent but many were returning to where they had been born, enslaved, or freed in the Caribbean or to another destination in the archipelago. Still, the United States was the most popular colony or country declared as a destination by name. This small wave of migration differed from the thousands of Africans and their descendants who had often arrived enslaved in Bordeaux earlier in the eighteenth century only to return to bondage in the Caribbean. By contrast, the group of people of color featured in this article were practicing their freedom as they set sail even as they moved closer to the beating heart of slavery when they traveled west. At the same time, the records they left in the archive provide clues about prevailing racial ideologies in France while shining a light on the process of community formation and affective ties among people of color who often have been rendered invisible. Using an otherwise cold, bureaucratic questionnaire as a point of departure, this article excavates and theorizes Black space-making and Black life in the aftermath of Atlantic Revolutions.