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Losing Laroche: The Story of the Only Black Passenger on the Titanic
February 11, 2020 @ 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Newhouse Fellow Kellie Carter Jackson asks what must it have been like to “travel while black” on what many considered to be the world’s premier ship with the world’s wealthiest passengers.
The story of the Haitian Joseph Laroche, his French wife, and their descendants is largely unknown and demonstrates how we have imagined Atlantic travel on the Titanic as a set of white privileges. The Titanic’s construction, crew, and passengers have been the subject of much research; here Carter Jackson examines the unexplored aspect of race. She explains the ways Laroche allows us to better understand the possibilities and limitations of black travel in the Titanic moment. His travel poignantly demonstrates how anti-blackness stifles the economic and social mobility of black people while paradoxically ensuring that they remain in a constant state of movement, searching for belonging.