Solitude, was born on the island of Guadeloupe around 1772. She was conceived on a slave ship, when her mother, who was being transported from Africa, was raped by one of the sailors.
Solitude was called "La Mulâtresse" ('Female Mulatto') because of her mixed race origins. On birth she automatically became the property of her mother’s owner. Because she had pale skin and pale eyes, she was given domestic work rather than being forced to work in the fields.
After the abolition of slavery in the West Indies in 1794 she joined a Maroon community, La Goyave. When Napoleon decided to reinstate slavery in the French Colonies in 1802, the Guadeloupeans resisted, refusing to surrender their freedom, after eight years of living as free men and women. Following an attack on the community by Napoleon’s forces, Solitude lead a small group that escaped to the hills, to avoid capture. Despite being pregnant, Solitude joined forces with groups led by an officer, Joseph Ignace and Louis Delgres a free mulatto officer, to fight against the Napoleonic forces. The Resistant’s rallied to the cry of "Live Free or Die!".
Surrounded and outnumbered at Danglemont Plantation on 28th May 1802 the Resistants, in a final desperate last stand, allowed French troops enter their territory. Then they set alight their gunpowder stores. Approximately five hundred Resistants and four hundred French troops were killed.
Solitude survived the battle, but was captured and imprisoned. The French military brought Solitude and the other survivors before a military tribunal, which sentenced them all to death. Solitude’s execution was was temporarily delayed because of her pregnancy. she gave birth to her child, who became the legal property of her owner on the 28th November 1802. One day after delivering her baby, Solitude was executed. She was thirty years old.
Today, Solitude’s name adorns squares, avenues, a library, and a museum room in Guadeloupe. Solitude’s bravery and courage is remembered in songs, poems, and the musical Solitude la Marronne. In September 2020 a garden was inaugurated in Solitude’s name in the 17th arrondissement Paris. A statue will follow, which will make the statue the second to a black woman in Paris.
The first statue to a black woman being that of Josephine Baker who took French citizenship despite being American born. Her statue is a tribute to her work for the French Resistance during World War II and her human rights, civil liberties work.
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