Fort de Joux
Fort de Joux
Toussaint Louverture was defeated by la mort blanche, a phenomenon that incarnates the implacable logic of the slave ship. On February 4, 1794, the Convention proclaimed the general abolition of slavery in the French colonies. Toussaint Louverture, governor for life since 3 July 1801, was captured by French forces on 7 June 1802. Deported aboard the frigate La Créole, Toussaint and his family were kept aboard the frigate Le Héros for more than two months in the port of Brest. Louverture, transported to the prison in Château de Joux on the French-Swiss border, died on 9 April 1803, unable to survive the harsh winter. Efforts have been made to revalorize his memory, despite the inability to locate his remains. The postcolonial memorialization of the hero of the Haitian Revolution would always face an intractable question: how do past heroes square with the contemporary fate of today’s Haiti. The following essay does not answer such a question, but it seeks to provide elements that may move the discussion with the awareness of the pitfalls of postcolonial memorialization.
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