vendredi 21 octobre 2011

Jean-Baptiste Belley: Defender of the America and the first African member of France.


Born on 1 July 1746 on Goree Island in Senegal, he is sold at the age of two years to a slave trader bound for Santo Domingo. He remains a slave in his youth. Become a merchant, he bought his freedom with his savings at the age of 17.
         In 1677, he is enlisting in the army of the French admiral, Count Charles Henri d'Estaing (1729-1794). He took part in the campaign of Savannah, the capital of the British colony of Georgia in the United States of September 16, 1778 to October 18, 1779.
         During the campaign of the War of American Independence (1773-1983) which ended in victory for the English who keep Georgia until 1782, he acquired his nickname of March, thanks to his bravery and qualities of a leader of men.
         In 1793, with the rank of captain of infantry, he was wounded six times and he comes alive during the battle of the civil commissioners against white settlers in Cape Town French.
         On September 24, 1793, he was elected MP for Saint-Domingue (Haiti Acts) to the Convention.
         His arrival in Paris caused a sensation. On February 3, 1794, he served officially in the Constituent Assembly. Its input is greeted with cheers, and at the request of the member of Eure-et-Loir, Jean-François Lacroix (1753-1794), President Marc Guillaume Alexis Vadier (1736-1828) gave the accolade to two black members (with the mulatto John the Baptist Mills). He impresses the Assembly by his eloquence.
         On February 4, 1794, the abolition of slavery was passed unanimously and without discussion after his moving speech. Despite his status as a French deputy influence, however, he must constantly fight against the racial slurs that call into question ever being elected as the Abolition Act. He sits proudly at the Convention and the Council of Five Hundred under the Directory until 1797.
         On June 21, 1797, he was appointed brigade commander and commander of the Gendarmerie of Santo Domingo.
         In April 1802, he was suspended from duty by the Captain General Charles Victor Emmanuel Leclerc (1772-1802).
         On July 16, 1802, arrested on secret instruction of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), then First Consul has just re-establish slavery in French colonies and brought in chains to the citadel of Belle-Isle-en-Mer in Brittany , in France.
         He died August 6, 1805 at the military hospital in Belle-Isle-en-Mer.
         His portrait painted by Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson (1767-1824) was presented for the first time at the Exposition de l'Elysée in 1797 under the title "The portrait of Negro."
It is kept in the Palace of Versailles.
         At his death, as all good, he has a total of 1697.50 Franks and for all that inherits by his half-brother on 28 September, 1805.
         It was not until April 27, 1848, that France finally abolished slavery. In France, 162 years after the official abolition of slavery, there have been no street name, building official or public place under his name.

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