Jeanne Odo, Paris, 17 May, 1793

On May 17, 1793, the Saint-George Legion, sent an “Address to the National Convention and to all the patriotic clubs and societies on behalf of the Negroes held in slavery in the French colonies of America.” It was written in the name of “one million slaves” and asked for the immediate abolition of slavery. The soldiers and officers who had signed the document, along with the Société des citoyens de couleur, launched a joint campaign for the end of slavery and the slave trade.

A delegation of black men and women was received by the Convention in Paris on June 4. Among them was Jeanne Odo a woman born in Saint-Domingue, who claimed to be 114. The delegation carried a new flag: a black man on the blue stripe, a white man on the white stripe, and a mulatto on the red stripe, with the slogan “Our union will be our strength.” The flag symbolized the end of the colonial order, as well as general freedom and equality. Following the black citizens’ campaign, the new constitution enacted on June 24, 1793, specified that no one could be sold. Although it did not address the abolition of the slave trade and slavery, it was considered a step in the right direction.

“Black Abolitionists in France,” African Resistance, (The New York Public Library, 2012)

Parmi les pétitionnaires se trouve une femme de couleur, âgée de 114 ans; elle marche appuyée au bras de deux pétitionnaires. A son arrivée devant le bureau, l’orateur de la députation déclare qu’elle se nomme Jeanne Odo et qu’elle est née au Port-au-Prince. L’Assemblée rend un hommage respectueux à la vieillesse, en se levant tout entière, et le Président, en signe de vénération, lui donne le baiser fraternel.

Archives parelementaires de 1787 à 1860 (1904)

Image: L’insurrection des esclaves de Saint-Domingue se prolonge à Paris. Les Hommes de couleur libres entrent dans la Convention et demande l’abolition de l’esclavage dans l’empire colonial d’Ancien Régime. On voit Jeanne Odo à la tribune avec une jeune fille (1794). For source click here.

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  1. Posted March 8, 2012 at 1:23 am | Permalink

    Jeanne Odo, Paris, 17 May, 1793: #haiti #archives

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