Friday, April 13

There Were Black Passengers on the Titanic? Who Knew?!

With the anniversary of Titanic Sunday April 15th, there's been a lot of reminiscing about the fatal crash  that killed many 100 years ago.  To be honest, I just assumed that given the year and the social climate of the time, that there would not have been any Black passengers on the Titanic.

Well I was wrong!

Apparently, there were two Black men on board among the 2,224 passengers on the Titanic who both perished.

Joseph Laroche, 26, a Haitian-born, French-educated engineer who was moving back to Haiti because he could not find work in his profession; and Victor Giglio, the son of an Italian father and Egyptian mother, and personal secretary to U.S. industrialist Benjamin Guggenheim.

According to the Chicago Tribune, who spoke with descendants of Laroche, he and his family were not supposed to be on board the Titanic at all.




"Laroche's mother had sent the family first-class tickets to travel on the French liner France. But just before departure, the Laroches learned that the ship wouldn't allow them to dine with their children. Out of concern about the younger daughter, who was sickly, they traded their tickets for second-class tickets on the Titanic."

It's said that Laroche's wife, who was pregnant at the time, and their two daughters made it safely to shore and lived in poverty until they received a settlement from the Titanic disaster.

The other Black passenger, Victor Giglio, however decided to 'go down like a gentleman' and sat at the bar drinking Brandy at the time the ship capsized.  He probably would have been denied a life boat on account of his colour anyway.

It amazes me that even 100 years later we are still finding new information about that tragic night when the Titanic went down. 

3 comments:

Negrophile said...

I was never sure if this was an urban legend or not.

Certainly, you never see a black face any Titanic movie (and there are several!).

Not sure how I feel about it, though.

Good to know that we were involved in history, or sad to know that two black people drowned.

Thanks for the info!

Anonymous said...

What a curiously racist remark to make. '...sad to know that two black people drowned'; implying that 1,498 Caucasians drowning is not sad? Surely it is a tragedy that such a great number of lives were lost in a terrible freak accident regardless of their ethnicity.

Anonymous said...

The person asked about black ppl being on the ship...Not implying it was good that whites died. Omg ppl nowadays!!