Humans have adorned themselves for thousands of years. The Scots have colorful plaids that represent their tribe, Pacific Northwest Indians tattooed their chins, the Jews have the Star of David, Christians have the cross… seems everybody has a group they identify with. A popular icon today is the fleur de lis. I see it all the time. It was flashed around a lot during the movie, The Da Vinci Code, as if it were the emblem of some powerful secret society. Perhaps it is, but it may also represent bravado among the most oppressed of us all, the enslaved.
During the days of slavery, in French Louisiana, the king signed a document, the Louisiana Code Noir, also known as the slave code, the laws pertaining to slaves and their masters. If a slave was caught stealing livestock, produce or provisions, they were legally allowed to be whipped by the public executioner and then branded with the mark of the fleur de lis. If a slave ran away and was gone for a month, his ears were cut off and he was branded with the fleur de lis on the shoulder. If a slave ran away a second time, again for a month, he was branded with the fleur de lis on the other shoulder. Quite a sign of rebellion. Unfortunately though, we run out of shoulders for the third offence. The punishment for that is death. You have to wonder if a tattoo of the fleur de lis was a status symbol, one of rebellion and anarchy. At least they tried.
Suellen Ocean is the author of the Civil War Era Historic Romance, Black Pansy. Available Here:
eBooks and computer downloads available through Smashwords: