Being a member of the Les Mis fandom, I’ve encountered a startling amount of sentiment that there were no people of color in nineteenth century France, that it’s unrealistic to racebend or headcanon characters as people of color and that they can only be written as such in modern alternate universe fic. Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for historical veracity and become slightly miffed at colorblind attempts to integrate people of color without considering the racial implications of their involvement in the narrative, but the idea that they didn’t exist in historical Europe is bullshit. People of color are part of the world and have always been part of it, and attempts to ignore that do not come from historical accuracy, but Eurocentrism, erasure, and a flagrant absenceof research.So what people of color existed in nineteenth century France then? I’ve researched historical minority communities and am posting about them in parts, one post per community. This post will focus on the African French diaspora. It is part one of a series on ethnic minorities in nineteenth century France. This does not include the African American diaspora and African American immigration to France or North African and Moorish communities already settled in France and the French Mediterranean, which will be the subjects of separate posts.
Below the cut are facts relevant to the African French community, which ideally will assist fandom in producing art, fan fiction, and meta incorporative of people of color.CW for slavery, racial violence, and racial slurs
Have a list, tumblr, of people who actually lived who could have easily been associated with Les Amis (whether negatively or positively). This is a handy dandy reference for situating fic and RP into historical context. I will happily add more if people send more my way, but these are all people who were between 32 and 19 years old in 1832, and were in Paris at around the time that the schoolboys would have been.
Feel free to send me more and/or correct anything that’s wrong!
I’m also not including Hugo himself because, well, that’s an obvious one.
Here is a Napoleon for Miss oneangrypixie! I regret there is no Josephine though :[ But that just leaves options for the future!
I have really wanted to do something with Jacques Louis David for a while now; he’s one of my favorite artists and artists’ obsessions are sometimes quite amusing. Like David’s fascination with Napoleon’s “classically structured” face. Hear, hear, this artist certainly agrees; young Napoleon’s portraits are pretty rawr