Paris plans first statue to honour Black woman hanged for resisting slavery
London, Sep. 27, 2020 (AltAfrica)-The city of Paris said on Saturday the French capital plans its first statue of a black woman to honour and remember a heroine who fought against slavery on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe in the early 19th century.
The woman, Solitude, was a key figure in the resistance movement against slavery in Guadeloupe and was executed for her role aged just 30. “Live free or die” were Solitude’s last words when she was executed for her involvement in the 1802 slave rebellion in Guadeloupe
READ ALSO: 6.2 MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE ROCKS SOUTH AFRICA
Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the new statue was planned as she opened a park in Paris named after Solitude, who she said “with her courage and commitment to justice and dignity opened the way towards a definitive abolition of slavery in France”.
“Paris is honouring Solitude, a Guadeloupean figure in the resistance against slavery by dedicating a park to her,” added Hidalgo on Twitter.
“Soon, a statue of this heroine – the very first of a black woman in Paris – will be erected there (in the park). A strong symbol to never forget her fight,” she added.
Solitude is the first black woman honoured for herself and for her action in a Paris public space,” Jacques Martial, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of overseas territories issues, told AFP.
“A defender of the values of the Republic, a committed woman, she fought for the freedom of all, against the reestablishment of slavery in Guadeloupe. She paid for that fight with her life”, he added
Amid global protests against monuments to white men linked to colonialism or the slave trade, French leaders have resisted taking down statues but pushed instead to design new monuments to more diverse, lesser-known historical figures.
Solitude was born around 1772 to an African slave who was raped by a white sailor on the ship bringing her to the Antilles, according to newspaper Le Monde.
She won her freedom after the French Revolution, but then Napoleon reinstated slavery in French colonies and Solitude joined Guadeloupe’s resistance movement, according to city hall. Napoleon’s forces arrested a then-pregnant Solitude, and sentenced her to death.
She gave birth on Nov. 28, 1802, and was hanged the next day.