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800 E. Vermilion St.

Lafayette, LA 70501

Hours (Starting June 8):

Thursday-Friday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Saturday 12-5 p.m.

About This Location

Afrikanah Book Club Lafayette Bookstore Mary & Dautrive's Story


It’s the turn of the 20th century. There’s a young Black pregnant woman walking into a store in rural Southwest Louisiana. She’s going to pick up a few items. As she enters, she’s attacked. The attacker is a muscular white man. She tries to fight, but with her growing belly, his size, and her awareness of her perceived inferiority in the deep South, there isn’t much she can do. She grows hopeless as he continues his assault. She grows wearier and wearier but just as she begins to give up, a Black man comes out of nowhere. He fights off the attacker, enabling her to flee. 


That man was Dautrive Gary, one of my paternal great grandfathers. A hero. A protector of Black women. According to the family’s oral history, it was during this confrontation that he lost one of his eyes. 


He was born in 1870 here in Freetown, Lafayette, Louisiana. He worked on the railroad and helped to build the neighborhood, including The Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. 


He was married to my great grandmother, Mary. She was a warrior too, and a queen-mother of 16 children.


Mary and Dautrive are the guardians of Afrikanah Book Club Lafayette. Their legacy in this community lives on through the work we do.


–Dr. Lindsay Gary, Owner


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