Mulâtresse Solitude is French and means “Mixed woman solitude“. She embodies all the women and mothers of the Caribbean who fought for freedom and equality during slavery.
Born around 1780, Mulâtresse Solitude was one of the historical figures of the 1802 rebellions against the re-establishment of the authority of Lacrosse, captain-general of Guadeloupe appointed by Napoleon Bonaparte, who had been expelled in October 1801 following a putsch of the colored officers of the army.
In 1802, eight years after the first abolition of slavery, Napoleon Bonaparte sent General Antoine Richepance to Guadeloupe.
At the head of 3,500 men, Richepance was given the mission of restoring Lacrosse to his position as captain-general, disarming all colored soldiers, deporting the rebellious officers, and restoring discipline among the former slaves. Upon his arrival, he ordered the disarmament of the colored soldiers and brought them aboard his ships.
From that moment on, a rebellion orchestrated by the battalion commander Joseph Ignace and captains Palerme and Massoteau was organized.
Their fellow rebel, Louis Delgrès, a native of Saint-Pierre in Martinique, battalion chief and commander of the Basse-Terre district, issued an appeal on May 10, 1802 entitled
"To the whole universe, the last cry of innocence and despair".
Mulâtresse Solitude, a few months pregnant, joined this fight against the troops of Richepance.
After 18 days of unequal fighting (more than 4,000 soldiers on Richepance's side and about 1,000 regular soldiers on the rebels' side), they were defeated. Ignace, on the verge of being taken prisoner, killed himself, while Delgrès and his troops blew up the Danglemont house in Matouba, in which they were entrenched. Solitude was taken prisoner around May 23, 1802, during the capture of the Palermo camp in Dolé.
She was sentenced to death and tortured on November 29 of the same year, the day after she gave birth.
What happened to her child ? Apparently it is still unknown.
To learn more about African Queens and Heroes of the black diaspora, we strongly recommend this book by Sylvia Serbin “Reines D’Afrique et Heroines de la Diaspora Noire” (only French translation).
Should we publish a short version book of African and black diaspora heroines/heroes in one of our upcoming issues ? Comment below.