I was in college when I first learned that the famed author Alexander Dumas was Black. I was way into my forties when I learned that his father was a Bad-Ass General. Thank you, Tom Reiss; I’m forever grateful for your research and dedication. To say I became obsessed with General Dumas after reading Mr. Reiss’s, The Black Count, is an understatement. I’m way past that stage. It’s full on restraining-order, stalker, hiding-behind-the-bushes, “I will cut you if you say anything disparaging about that family”. I know, I know – a bit much. But did I mention, I would cut you?

I first visited Dumas back in 2012. These days you can find him here at the Pantheon.


On that particular visit, the place was pretty empty. Fall mornings are a good time to check out many of the tourist spots. After being mesmerized by the huge pendulum keeping accurate time on the ground floor…


Then having my attention arrested by the statue of La Convention Nationale…


Only to have to convince that sane part of me to go down a set of steps that nothing good could come from…



But to be luckily rewarded with these two dudes…





Only to have to be confronted with another creepy isolated situation…


And more isolation…


And more…



But, finally, I found what I came for…



His name is located just below Victor Hugo’s. It is barely visible. I would like to think it’s from so many hands needing to connect with such a dynamic spirit, and not because they want to rub him out of existence. History makes a strong case for the latter.

Dumas and Hugo share a tomb with Emile Zola. Having had a piss-poor education, I had to do a little research on the dude. Okay, I’m impressed, but he was not my reason for being there. I had already visited Hugo’s House back in the Marais section of Paris, so I completely ignored him as well. I was there for this dude…



While most of the tombs throughout the Pantheon had been open, this one was cordoned off.


So I stayed there on the other side of the gate, paying my respects to a man who smashed through so many barriers. After leaving Mr. Dumas, I decided to check out other dead people and was pleasantly surprised to come across this…


The second time I visited Mr. Dumas in the Pantheon, I had decided to inquire as to why his tomb was cordoned off. To my surprise, the security guard asked me if I would like to enter the tomb in order to pay my respects. I was floored. Where were those mean and grumpy French people who said “no” to everything? I fought back tears as I entered the tomb and placed a hand on the cold, hard stone which supposedly held Mr. Dumas, more than just my Muse.



I try to make it a point to look in on Dumas whenever I am in Paris. But in the fall of 2015, I was able to go one step further. Okay, 100 or so steps. Thanks to the generosity of my Airbnb host, I was able to visit Chateau Monte Cristo, which Dumas had built in 1846.

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And, then, the following week, I visited Dumas’s hometown where he was born. That statue up there at the top of the page is located in the center of town. THE CENTER OF TOWN!

Villers-Cotter├ęts is located in the north of France. It is where, in 1539, King Francis I signed an ordinance making French the official language of France. Currently, it happens to be one of the most far-right leaning villages, with strong support for the Front National Party led by Marine Le Pen. Did I mention this town has a statue of Alexander Dumas right dead in the center?


They also have this…

IMG_4533And this…

IMG_4546Oh, irony, you little devil.

I had to pull myself away from his childhood home, partly in fear that the homeowners (who, by the way, have no blood ties to the author or his family) might have me arrested.


I finally made my way to the cemetery where the Dumas family rests.




Having left the cemetery, I thought I would check out this quaint, little town.



Maybe it’s my obsession with lineage that keeps me stalking a man’s whose own has been unjustly overlooked by history.

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