Thomy Lafon

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Thomy Lafon (1810-1893) was a Creole businessman, philanthropist and human rights activist in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. He was born poor, on 28 December 1810, as a free person of color. He started out selling cakes to workers, opened a small store, was a school teacher for a time, and became successful at money lending and real estate investment. He was an opponent of slavery and supported racial integration in schools. Lafon is mostly known for his large donations to the American Anti-Slavery Society, the Underground Railroad, the Catholic School for Indigent Orphans, the Louisiana Association for the Benefit of Colored Orphans, and other charities for both blacks and whites.

In his will, he left funds to local charities and to the Charity Hospital, Lafon Old Folks Home, Dillard University, and the Sisters of the Holy Family, an order of African American nuns.[1][2] The Thomy Lafon school was called "the best Negro schoolhouse in Louisiana," but it was burned down by a white mob during the New Orleans Race Riot of 1900.[3] Lafon also supported the Tribune, the first black-owned newspaper in the South after the American Civil War.

Thomy Lafon never married; he died on December 22, 1893.[1] His remains were interred at the Saint Louis Cemetery No. 3.[4]

Bust of Thomy Lafon (at left)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Smith, Frederick D. (2006). "Thomy Lafon". In Jessie Carney Smith. Encyclopedia of African American business. vol. 2 K-Z. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 447–449. ISBN 0-313-33111-1. Retrieved 2009-05-19. 
  2. ^ Ingham, John N.; Feldman, Lynne B. "Lafon, Thomy". African-American business leaders: a biographical dictionary. 1993. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 410–414. ISBN 0-313-27253-0. Retrieved 2009-05-19. 
  3. ^ Hair, William Ivy (1986). Carnival of Fury: Robert Charles and the New Orleans Race Riot of 1900. LSU Press. pp. 177–178. ISBN 0-8071-1348-4. Retrieved 2009-05-19. 
  4. ^ Accessed 08 October 2014.

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