Posts Tagged ‘slavery’

La Mulâtresse Solitude

Saturday, June 13th, 2020

This is an amazing (if horrifying) story and an amazing work of art commemorating it:

A revolution of enslaved plantation laborers in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti) begun in August 1791 forced France to legally abolish slavery in its colonies less than three years later. By 1802, however, Napoléon’s forces sought to resurrect the sugar-based economies of Saint-Domingue, Guadeloupe, and other French holdings in the Caribbean by re-enslaving freedpeople who had been living as French citizens for eight years. Africans and their descendants fiercely resisted French forces—successfully in Saint-Domingue, unsuccessfully in Guadeloupe. Though little is known of her early life, [La Mulâtresse] Solitude is celebrated as a heroine in Guadeloupe for her role in that struggle for lasting freedom in 1802. . . . Solitude, now pregnant, mobilized her followers to join the forces of Louis Delgrès against the French military. They struggled until they were surrounded and outnumbered by the French troops. . . . Solitude survived and was captured and detained in Basse-Terre prison. The French military brought Solitude and the other survivors before a military tribunal, which sentenced them all to death. Solitude was temporarily pardoned until she gave birth to her child, who became the legal property of her owner. One day after delivering her baby, on November 28, 1802, Solitude was executed. She was thirty years old.”

The statue (see also here) in her memory is spectacular; it shows a strong, defiant pregnant woman.