Unless you’re a history buff, you’re unlikely to know much about the Titanic beyond the 1997 film.
There’s a lot we don’t know about what transpired on that tragic night; therefore, the movie is probably not historically accurate.
The most accurate information we have comes from survivors’ accounts of the disaster.
When the Titanic sank, 1,500 passengers and staff members perished, including the only black passenger on board. Only 706 people were rescued.
Joseph Philippe Lemercier Laroche, a Haitian engineer, boarded the Titanic with his wife and two daughters.
Laroche, like many others on the ship, was looking for work. He decided that traveling abroad would provide him with the best work opportunities.
Born into an elite family, with one of his ancestors being the leader of the Haitian Revolution and the first leader of free Haiti, Laroche had some big shoes to fill.
His mother chose not to raise him in Haiti, instead sending him to France to receive the best education possible.
Laroche later married Juliette, a white French woman. Juliette found out she was expecting another child in early 1912.
Despite an excellent education, Laroche was unable to obtain work due to the country’s racial discrimination at the time.
Juliette’s pregnancy expedited the family’s travel plans, which had been planned for the end of the year.
Laroche had originally planned for his family to go first class aboard the ship La France. But, at the last minute, he changed his mind and purchased Titanic second-class tickets.
This choice was made because of the severe dining rules on La France, which prohibited children from eating with their parents during the voyage.
As an interracial family, the Laroches had received their fair share of racial abuse.
It was no different on the Titanic, except that the family faced an even more severe challenge.
The Titanic struck an iceberg just before midnight on April 4, 1912. Most of us are familiar with this aspect of the story.
And passengers had only a few minutes to get to the lifeboats in this situation.
Laroche ensured that his wife and two children were on one of the boats, where they were picked up by a nearby ship responding to the distress call.
The valiant father, Laroche, was never reunited with his family.
Although Laroche’s body was never found, it is assumed that he was one of the ship’s 1,500 casualties.
The young man, who was only 25, had his entire life ahead of him. He had, however, saved his family, and that was something to be remembered for.
Juliette went on to become an entrepreneur, and we only know about the family’s tragic experience due to an interview given by her daughter, Louise.