Francis E. Dumas: Selling Out His People or Liberating His People?

Written by: Rodneka Shelbia
About: Francis E. Dumas

In 1860 Francis E. Dumas was worth a quarter of a million dollars. He spoke five languages, including French and Spanish. He was such a good soldier that his Major General, Benjamin Butler, the leader of union troops in the whole Louisiana, said to him you are a better officer than I am. Dumas was one of Louisiana's bigger slaveholders. I couldn't believe he was a black man.

When I first digested these unbelievable facts about this man, I almost immediately vomited: Some black men are always more than ready to sell us out to help themselves. They refuse to struggle on behalf of their people so we all can be better off. Like when Kunta was captured by his own brother.

You should have seen me trying to swallow the disgusting spit of a black man enslaving his own people. He gets a little bit money and wants to roll with the evil guys.

My teachers saw me struggling and gave me another thought to chew on: maybe he didn't do it to his people but for his people. I was confused, but I thought he was in the Union Army fighting against the Confederates and all, so maybe he owned slaves to help free them—or at least opposed slavery in the long run. Like when folks in England bought Frederick Douglass so he could be free.

Dumas no longer leaves a bad taste in my mouth. In fact, I crave more information about guys like him who are willing to risk their fame and fortune for their people.