May 26, 2012

OURstory: Joseph Phillippe Lemercier Laroche is Only Black Man to Die on the Titanic


Joseph Laroche was the only Black man to perish in the Titanic; that's after he saved his wife and kids. Laroche was born in Cap Haitien, Haiti, on May 26, 1889.

Joseph Laroche was born into a powerful family. His uncle, Cincinnatus Leconte, was the president of Haiti. When Joseph was fifteen, he left Haiti to study engineering in Beauvais, France. Several years later, he met Juliette Lafargue, the 22-year-old daughter of a local wine seller. The two eventually married.

Despite having an engineering degree, Joseph's skin color left him unable to find employment in France. The Laroches decided to return to Haiti and booked second-class reservations on the Titanic. After the ship struck an iceberg, Joseph loaded his wife and children onto a lifeboat and he went down with the ship. His body was never recovered.


We need to share OURstory 24/7/365. If we don't spread the word within our villages ... who will do so? What did you think of this bit of history from the Titantic?

9 comments:

A. Spence said...

wow. never knew. thanks!

Villager said...

A. Spence - The power of the afrosphere is that we can share information with one another that we won't learn in school or via the mainstream media. I encourage you to share this link with others you think might enjoy the unique bit of OURstory...

Kim said...

I blogged about this earlier this year(http://ikimme.blogspot.com/2009/01/black-family-on-titanic.html) and wished the Laroches would have been part of the Titanic movie. It was also reported that boxer, Jack Johnson would have been on the Titanic but he was refused 1st Class ticket, he felt it was belittling for the liner to offer him 2nd or 3rd class so he decided against traveling the liner all together.

Regina said...

Wow, Villager! you never cease to amaze me! Thanks for the education and true I would have never known about this...

Villager said...

Kim - I never heard that stroy about Jack Johnson. Thank you for sharing! I think it is important for Black bloggers to share information about OURstory whenever possible...

Regina - Tell a friend!

Marlie Styles said...

Hello there, my name is Marjorie Richard, I go by Marlie... I just wanted to share with you that I am from the direct family branch of LaRoche. Joseph's mother's brother was my great grandfather seven generations back. I am writing a screenplay about the story and would like to share with you if you go to http://www.facebook.com/TitanicLaRoche
Thank you and look forward to your comments! LIKE US & SHARE

Villager said...

Marlie Styles - I'm glad that our blog is helping to spread the news about this little-reported aspect of Black history. Good luck with your literary efforts!

Maria McKenzie said...

Hi, Marlie, I'm Maria McKenzie and posted about Joseph and Juliette last week. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog, what a nice surprise:). Your family's story is fascinating. Looking forward to reading all the info here!

Villager said...

Marie - Very cool! Can you share the link to your story on Marlie's family with us?