Statue of slave defaced in Bordeaux, city talks about ‘racist act’

A statue of Modeste Testas, an African woman who was a victim of slavery, has been defaced with white paint in the French city of Bordeaux. According to the city, it is a racist act, and the perpetrators should be punished.

The statue, which is located on ‘le quai Louis-XVIII’, is a tribute to the African woman Marthe Adelaïde. At the end of the 18th century, it was bought as a slave by two brothers from Bordeaux, Pierre and François Testas.

Once arrived in Bordeaux, Marthe was baptized by the brothers as Marthe Adelaïde Modeste Testas. Over the years, she worked as a slave on their plantations in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Marthe had a relationship with her owner François and eventually had two children with him. After the death of François, Marthe regained her freedom. She died in Haiti in 1870 at the age of 105.

“An insult”

City councilors say graffiti is a racist crime. “It is a denial of the agony suffered by deported slaves and an insult to them,” he said. The statue was created in 2019 by Haitian sculptor Woodly ‘Filipo’ Caymitte in memory of the victims of slavery.

The Bordeaux City Council is now going to file a complaint. “The perpetrators must not only be punished, but must also restore the statue,” said city councilor Stéphane Gomot.

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