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Alexander Dumas

Photo courtesy of Black Coat Press

Alexandre Dumas was a highly acclaimed writer in the 1800s, best known for his novels The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo. The son of a Biracial military man, Dumas was born to a French nobleman and an Afro-Caribbean slave. Dumas’ father was the first Afro-Antilles soldier promoted to general and the first man of color to reach the rank of general-in-chief. Just like his father, Dumas used his slave grandmother’s surname instead of his White grandfather’s.

Alexandre Dumas’ work has been translated into almost 100 languages and has inspired over 200 motion pictures. His novels are often part of high school curriculum, and Dumas’ work has been more widely read than that of any other French writer.

Dumas died during the Franco-Prussian War, and his death was subsequently overshadowed. In 2002, on the bicentennial of Dumas’ birth, French President Jacques Chirac honored Dumas in a televised ceremony and had his ashes reinterred in the Pantheon of Paris, alongside other French luminaries.

Dumas dealt with discrimination because of his mixed race ancestry, despite his noble status and professional acclaim. He famously responded to a detractor by commenting, “My father was a mulatto, my grandfather was a Negro, and my great-grandfather a monkey. You see, Sir, my family starts where yours ends.


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