Room 201 | Merrick Hall
Dr. Couti will share research on 19-year-old Lumina Sophie dite Surprise, a seamstress who the took part in the short-lived insurrection in southern Martinique in 1870. She led a group of female insurrectionists called Pétroleuses who burned down plantations with petrol or gasoline. In contemporary times, this historical figure famously represents freedom and women’s rights in Martinique. She is remembered as the symbol of resistance for the Insurrection of the South. In 2011 and 2012, under the sponsorship of the UFM (Union des Femmes Martiniquaises), the city Schoelcher named a lycée and a round-about after her. In the capital Fort-de-France, the tallest tower built in 2012 also bears her name. In a region too often belittled for its sexism, violence against women, and patriarchal leanings, such a promotion seems to signify social and political progress.