“Slavery is not a shame on me, my ancestors were some of the most creative and enduring people.”

30 Oct

“Slavery is not a shame on me, my ancestors were some of the most creative and enduring people.” a quote from “Many Rivers to Cross” PBS special.

Vilmont real

I look at this picture and think that Louisiana wanted everybody to believed that Vilmont was not human, born as property. He was not a Mandingo in statue, since he was not of breeded stock. His White father did not claim him like the free people of color was accustomed to.  He was a slave on a Perique tobacco plantation and a sugar plantation He worked hard from sun up to sun down. When he was 23 years old he was valued at one thousand dollars…He was not the top dollar item…Did he work in the house?…I don’t know…but I do know the house Negro worked as hard..don’t believe the myth that the house Negro had it made. They did not stay in the house in comfort. But I don’t know if he was a house Negro or field Negro, but I do know that he was given a slave quarter after the war, was it the same one he had lived in before the war?.. I don’t know…but his ex-master allowed him to live in an ex slave quarter and share crop on the property.

Vilmont price3

Vilmont is the six name down. Vilmont was a named property in the settlement of the estate of George Roussel on January 28th 1859. He was passed down to his son Louis Amedee Roussel.


Vilmont ran off Louis Roussel’s plantation and joined the United States Colored Troop. He did return after the war to Louis Roussel’s plantation.

81st Regiment,

United States Colored Infantry



RANK OUT:Private

FILM NUMBER:M589 roll 77 NOTES: REFERENCE CARD. Original filed under Belmont/Seching Belomont Sechnight.

When the enlistment officer asked for Vilmont Schexnayder’s name, this is what he heard coming out of Vilmont’s mouth, “Belmont Sechnight”  Vilmont said that during roll call, he answered to that name, since no one else was stepping up to the name, he said “It must be me.”


Vilmont was honored with the other African-American Civil War soldiers. His name is on a plaque at the African-American Civil War Memorial, at the corner of Vermont Avenue, 10th St, and U Street NW in Washington, D.C.

I am not ashamed of this man nor any other ancestors who were bought and sold as properties. I give them all the reverence, starting with the ancestors on that Trans-Atlantic boat to the ones that finally heard that “We are Free”.


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5 responses to ““Slavery is not a shame on me, my ancestors were some of the most creative and enduring people.”

  1. AAGSAR (@AAGSARFacebook)

    October 31, 2013 at 12:18 am

    BEAUTIFUL post & homage to Mr. Vilmont Stephani! You’re correct, there’s NOTHING in that legacy but honor!

  2. Andrea

    November 18, 2013 at 4:26 am

    Very well written. I really enjoyed reading your blog.

    • Stephani

      November 18, 2013 at 5:09 am

      Thank you Andrea.

  3. Jen

    December 19, 2014 at 12:52 am

    Stephani, In searching for my French descent white ancestor I found this page and this story of Vilmont. It’s a beautiful story and thankyou for sharing it. I believe George Roussel and his son Louis Amedee Roussel were relatives of my ancestor. My ancestor’s name is Seymour Voullaire, his mother was a Roussel from the Roussel sugar plantation on Guadeloupe’s Marie-Gallante island. In the photo, Vilmont looks eerily similar to that of my ancestor’s son Belmont, who shows what I’ve learned to be the Roussel looks.

    I cannot properly or fully express my sorrow for our country’s slavery, nor ever understand the impact but am deeply sorry for my ancestors’ part in it.

    • Stephani Juleeana Miller

      December 19, 2014 at 3:05 am

      Jen, thank you for your comment and reading my post. In my research, I have made contact with relatives who are descendants of slave holders, some are very open and responsive and there are others who do not respond at all. I am not here to judge the descendants of slaveholders for their ancestor’s transgression. I am interested in finding my history and finding more ancestors. So I thank you again for your response.


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