Perseverance, Strength and Faith

The River Road African American Museum, located in the historic district of Donaldsonville, Louisiana is the premier facilitiy in the South to focus on the history and heritage of
African Americans along the Mississippi River.
The River Road African American Museum exhibits include Free People of Color; African Influences on Louisiana Cuisine; Rural Roots of Jazz; Black Doctors of the River Road; Louisiana Black Inventors; Folk Artists; Louisiana Underground Railroad; Reconstruction Period; History of Education in Plantation Country and Slave Inventories
Visit the River Road African American Museum and learn about the past in order to understand the future.
Learn about the story of the River Road African American Museum from its beginning to our future plans. Here also you find is our vision/mission statements and a letter from the founder/director of the museum, Kathe Hambrick.


With over 300 years of history, the legacy and importance of Africans in America to the growth of the South, the United States and the world is evident through the collection and exhibits of rare artifacts found at the museum.

We invite you to view a glimpse of the exhibits we offer at the River Road African American Museum here on our website. History awaits you.

Free man of color,L.L. Fernandez during the antebellum period
Monde de Couleur Libre (Free People of Color) were persons of mixed African, European, and or Native American descent who bought their freedom. In addition to self-purchase, manumission sometimes gave them their freedom for meritorious service in battle or saving the life of their masters. A significant amount of enslaved people became free because they were the children of white native born and European fathers who sometimes openly acknowledged their mixed offspring and who also freed the mother of their children.

What is the name of the benevolent association that L.L. Fernandez founded?

True Friends Benevolent Association was started as a mutual aid society at the end of enslavement, when African Americans had no access to health insurance, health care or burial insurance.

Click here for more information on benevolent societies

This exhibit lists the names of hundreds of individuals who obtained their freedom in Ascension Parish or who moved to Ascension Parish as freemen and freewomen.

The exhibit shows occupation, skill, and property ownership of these free people. The list of names dates back to 1806 when the town of Donaldsonville was founded. The museum will publish its second book for the Donaldsonville bicentennial in 2006, Monde de Couleur Libre. The book will include copies of detailed maps and freedom documents from courthouses, Catholic church records, family papers and the state archives.


406 Charles Street  |  Donaldsonville, LA 70346
Phone: 225.474.5553  |
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