On July 24, 1802, the French playwright and historian Alexandre Dumas was born in Villers-Cotterets in the department of Aisne, in Picardy, France.

He was of mixed heritage. His grandfather was Marquis Alexandre-Antonie Davy de la Pailleterie, a French nobleman and general in the artillery in what is now known as Haiti. His grandmother, Marie-Cesette Dumas, was a formerly enslaved Black woman. She died shortly after the birth of their son, the father of Alexandre, Thomas-Alexandre Dumas.

Thomas, a celebrated mulatto general, married Marie-Louise Elisabeth Labouret in 1802.

Together they produced Alexandre. But Thomas died in 1806, leaving his widow to raise their son without an education and poor.

Although Marie-Louise was unable to provide a formal education, she enriched her son with stories of her father’s military deeds in the prosperous years of Napoleon. Many believed Alexandre’s vivid imagination transformed those stories into literary classics.

In his younger years, Alexandre worked as a notary’s clerk, and at age 20, he left for Paris. He had exceptional handwriting, so he secured a position at the Palais Royal in the office of the Duc d’Orleans, who would later become King Louis-Philippe.

However, the young man started his writing career unsuccessfully, but after maturing in his craft, he became a master storyteller.

In 1824, he fathered Alexandre Dumas fils, whose mother was Catherine Labay.

A few years later, the author had his first success with his romantic-historical play, “Henri III and His Court,” which spurred a very successful career.

Throughout his career, the author produced classics like “The Count of Monte Cristo,” “The Nutcracker,” ” The Three Musketeers,” and others.

On Dec. 5, 1870, Alexandre died of a stroke.

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