The Statue of La Mulâtresse Solitude


Here’s a statue we can appreciate: La Mulâtresse Solitude who in 1802 helped lead a slave revolt in Guadeloupe whilst 8 months pregnant and whose last words before she was hanged would be: “Live free, or die”.⁠

Solitude, was a slave who was initially freed after the abolition of slavery in the French colonies in 1794 after the Haitian Revolution led by Toussaint Louverture. The French government abolished slavery in order to prevent the revolution from spreading and becoming a generalized slave revolt in all its colonies in the Caribbean. However in 1802, Napoleon wanted to reintroduce slavery on Guadeloupe, so Solitude, now pregnant, joined the rebellion led by mulatto leader Louis Delgrès. ⁠

During the battles, the women showed exemplary courage and fighting spirit. Solitude was said to be a fierce and fearless warrior who pushed herself and her belly into the heart of every battle. From victory to victory, and then from setback to setback, she pushed herself and her womb all the way up into the mountains before the final defeat.⁠

Unfortunately, the rebels would eventually become outnumbered by French troops, so the rebels decided to make one last stand by letting the French advance in their territory before blowing up stores of gunpowder, thereby killing themselves together with hundreds of French soldiers. ⁠

Though most of the rebels died, Solitude survived and was captured and sentenced to death. Because she was pregnant at the time of her imprisonment, she was not to be hanged until after the birth of her child, as her child would become the property of a slave owner. ⁠

The morning after giving birth, Solitude stepped out of jail peacefully while, according to accounts, maternity’s milk stained her nightshirt. ⁠

“Live free or die” would be her last words before being hanged, becoming a martyr and symbol for all women and mothers who have sacrificed themselves and fought against all odds to defend the ideals of freedom and equality. ⁠

Almost 200 years later a statue was placed on Héros aux Abymes Boulevard in Guadeloupe in her memory.

Source: Redfish Media See less

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