Black History of Dumas and Pushkin @ Link Wanderlust


Nadar - Alexander Dumas père (1802-1870) - Google Art Project 2.jpgIt is a little known fact that Alexandre Dumas’s father was a military hero and not white skinned but of Haitian origin. This story is even more relevant during a presidential race in France where race and origin matter.

“Many of the adventures described in The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo are believed to be based on his father’s experiences.  Yet few who read his books are aware that Alexandre Dumas was the grandson of a Haitian slave. Fewer still realise that his remarkable parent, born into slavery but raised and educated in France by a white aristocratic father, grew up to challenge Napoleon Bonaparte and become one of the most celebrated military heroes of his day.”

Thomas Alexandre had the opportunity to study and succeed. The revolution freed him from slavery and he even married a white woman and was promoted to the post of general. His exploits earned him the nickname Black Devil and he even came in confrontation with Napolean Bonaparte who wished to reestablish slavery. Alexandre has never been given his due ever since. Racism  can not be dismissed as some kind of primitive boorishness. It exists in France and stories like What the legacy of France’s first black general tells us about the country’s identity can change the way young people make judgements on the basis of the skin color.

Portrait of Alexander Pushkin (Orest Kiprensky, 1827).PNGI stumbled on another race related story about the revered Russian writer Alexander Pushkin.

The legend, in French and Russian, declared that Abram Petrovich Gannibal (Hanibal in French), born in LogoneBirni in 1696 and deceased in Russia in 1781, chief military engineer and general-in-chief of the Imperial Russian Army, was a graduate of the royal artillery academy of La Fère.

It also noted that he was the great-grandfather of Russia’s greatest poet, Alexander Pushkin.

Pushkin was proud of his descent and he even used Gannibal as a model for an unfinished novel. Gannibal was apparently kidnapped when he was just seven and presented as a gift to the Ottoman sultan in Constantinople. The boy finally ended up being sent to Czar Peter I. Read more here: Of African Princes and Russian Poets


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