"REMEMBERING THE ONLY BLACK FAMILY ON THE TITANIC"
Contrary to popular belief, one black family did sail on the “Titanic.” Haitian native Joseph Phillippe Lemercier Laroche came from a rich and powerful family. His uncle, Dessalines Leconte was president of Haiti. Joseph could also speak two languages and he had an engineering degree but he couldn’t find a job because of his color.
He and his wife had decided to take their daughters Simonne and Louise to visit his mother. They made second-class reservations on the “Titanic” at the last minute. It is believed they purchased the last available tickets.
The family encountered blatant racism on board. Some passengers shouted racial epithets at them whenever they left the cabin. For their safety, they decided to stay indoors and they hardly ventured out of the cabin.
On April 15, 1912, when the ship hit an iceberg and began to sink, Laroche loaded his pregnant wife Juliette and two daughters into "lifeboat 14," just before the ship sunk at 2:20 a.m. Joseph and 1,500 other passengers would go down with the ship.
In 1918, six years after the death of her husband, the ‘White Star Line’ awarded Juliette Laroche $22,119.00 dollars.
In 1980, Juliette Laroche died at 91 years of age.
Neither daughter (Simonne and Louise) has ever married, had children or left France.
Source: Zondra Hughes @ Ebony Magazine