Suzanne Sanité Belair was a young free woman of colour (or possibly an emancipated slave) from Verrette in Haiti. In 1796, at the age of 15 she married Charles Belair, nephew and lieutenant, then general under the leader of the Haitian revolution Toussaint Louverture.
The Belair couple worked together and Sanité became a lieutenant in Louverture’s army. The couple was captured together in 1802.
The commandant Faustin Répussard of the French army wrote the following account to his General :
Following the orders of General Jablonowski I went to the bourg of the small river to report to Dessalines. The next day my national guards were formed into two columns and we walked to [...] Simmonette not far from the Grande fond and I was put in charge of the right column. I then went towards the corai maugerwhere I surprised Diaqoi, Belair’s brother in law, hidden in a ravine. After questioning him to no avail I went in to the woods with my national guard and after a short search I found Madame Charles Belair hidden behind a patch of high grass and I made her come out from behind it and carried on with her to find Belair who I had been told was entranched with some brigands but seeing his wife prisoner he gave himself away.
Sanité and Charles were executed on 5 October 1802. He was condemned to the firing squad, but she, as a woman, was to be decapitated. She was 21.
The following account was published in an issue of La Fraternité, a Haitian weekly journal, some ninety years later :
On the afternoon of the 13 vendemiaire, Charles Belair, with his wife, was taken between two squads of white soldiers behind the Cap cemetery. When he was placed in front of the firing squad he heard the voice of his wife exhorting him to die bravely. At the moment he placed his hand on his heart, he fell, shot to the head with several bullets.
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