Julien Raimond

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Julien Raimond (1744–1801) was an indigo planter in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haïti).

Early activism

He was born a free man of color, the son of a French colonist and the mulatto daughter of a planter, in the isolated South province of the colony. Raimond owned over 100 slaves by the 1780s, and was one of the wealthiest men in his racial class in the colony. But he is most famous for challenging the French government to reform racially discriminatory laws in Saint-Domingue. He moved to France in the mid 1780s and pursued this question in person at the French Colonial Ministry.

The outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789, in particular the publication of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, prompted Raimond to take his case before the National Constituent Assembly. Working with Vincent Ogé, Henri Grégoire and the Society of the Friends of the Blacks, Raimond succeeded in making the question of racial equality into the leading colonial question before the National Assembly in 1790 and 1791.


On 15 May 1791, the French legislature passed racial reforms urged by Raimond giving wealthy free-born men of color the right to vote in the colonies. But White colonists' resistance to this change provoked civil war in Saint-Domingue. The destabilization of colonial society over this controversy was one of the situations slaves profited from in August 1791 when they organized the massive revolt that eventually became the Haïtian...
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