The Author of “The Count of Monte Cristo” Was Black

Alexandre Dumas, Black French author of The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo is a popular film that was produced in 1975 and again in 2002, starring actors Jim Caviezel and Luis Guzmán. Many people, however, don't know that the film was based on a popular novel of the same title, and that it was written by a Black French writer named Alexandre Dumas.
Alexandre Dumas was born in France in 1802 to Thomas-Alexandre Dumas and his wife Marie-Louise. His father was born in the French colony of Saint-Domingue in Haiti in 1762 to Marie-Cessette Dumas, an enslaved woman and concubine of African descent owned by the Marquis Antoine Davy de la Pailleterie.

At age 14, Dumas was taken by his father to France, where he was educated in a military academy and entered the military for what became an illustrious career. His father's position helped him to get a job with Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orléans, and during that time, Dumas began writing articles for magazines and plays for the theatre.

In 1829, he produced his first play, Henry III and His Courts, which was well received by the public. The next year, his second play, Christine, did just as well. His early success gave him sufficient income to be able to become a full-time writer. He authored several children's stories, a culinary dictionary, and other books and novels that often reflected his observations about the world.

In 1843, he wrote a short novel entitled Georges that addressed racial issues and the effects of colonialism. This novel was inspired by his own personal experiences as a bi-racial person who had to deal with racism and discrimination despite his successful career as a writer.

In 1844, he wrote The Count of Monte Cristo - an all-time favorite by readers and movie fanatics all over the world. That same year, he also wrote The Three Musketeers - another very popular novel that went on to be produced as a film in 1993 by Walt Disney Productions, and again in 2011. The 2011 film starred the likes of actors Matthew Macfadyen, Logan Lerman, and Orlando Bloom.

Dumas' works have been translated into many languages, and are widely available around the world. To date, he is one of the most widely read French authors.

Sadly, Alexandre Dumas died on December 5, 1870 after suffering from a heart attack. He was buried in the cemetery of Villers-Cotterêts in France, but in 2002, French President Jacques Chirac ordered him to be re-buried in the Pantheon in Paris along with other illustrious writers from France like Émile Zola and Victor Hugo.

President Chirac acknowledged that racism had been a problem in France, and said that the re-interment of Dumas' body in the Pantheon was a way of correcting that wrong.