Black Inhabitants of France

Lying so much off the beaten track, the village of Port Lesne, in the Jura department of France, is visited by but few from the outside world, and consequently this tiny community of men and women of color is but little known. It is not a large village, for its inhabitants number only about a hundred, but everyone is either black or copper colored. It owes its origin to the fact that about a century ago the famous negro chief, Toussaint L’Overture was brought from Haiti and imprisoned in Fort de Joux. Many of his friends, all negroes, followed him and encamped near his prison on the bank of the little River Loue. From that encampment grew the village of Port Lesne, and when Toussaint L’Overture died more than 100 years ago his friends decided to remain in France. The passing of years and intermarriages have transformed the settlement into a French village of colored folk, all of whom are enfranchised.

“Black Inhabitants of France,” Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle, February 27, 1911.

Image: Fort de Joux, [juin 1923] : [photographie de presse] / [Agence Rol], Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Estampes et photographie, EI-13 (1029)


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One Comment

  1. Warren Crichkow
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Source: Victor Schoelcher, Vie de Toussaint Louverture. Paul Ollendorff Editeur, Paris, 1889;
    Translated: for by Mitch Abidor;
    CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2004.

    Toussaint’s final prison was at Fort de Joux, in the Jura Mountains, not far from Switzerland. He arrived there in August of 1802, and the Minster of the Marine, following Bonaparte’s orders, ensured that Toussaint’s conditions of imprisonment would be as difficult as possible. He died there on April 7, 1803.

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