Bio:Josie Fanon

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Josie Fanon, born Marie-Josèphe "Josie" Dublé (c.1930-13 July 1989), was the wife of Frantz Fanon (1925-1961), a political activist, and a journalist. She was of Corsican and Gypsy descent,[1] a native of Lyon, France, and daughter of left-wing trade unionists.[2]

While a student in liberal arts in the late 1940s, Josie Dublé met Fanon, who had come to Lyon to study medicine and psychiatry.[3] They married in Lyon on 30 October 1952,[4] and had one child, a son named Olivier, born in 1955.[5]

An element of the relationship between Josie and Frantz Fanon was her serving as typist as he dictated, as this was his preferred way of composing his works.[1]

The Fanons moved to Algiers in 1953, where Frantz had obtained a position. They became involved in the Algerian independence movement. Expelled from Algeria by the French in 1957, they moved to Tunisia.[3]

In 1960, Josie Fanon became a writer for Afrique action, a magazine created in Tunis by Béchir Ben Yahmed that soon afterwards was renamed Jeune Afrique.[6]

In 1961, Frantz Fanon was diagnosed with an advanced stage of leukemia, and was flown to the United States in October for treatment. Josie and their son joined him there.[3][7] They may have had to leave before his passing in December of that year (Josie's friend, Assia Djebar, recalled that she bemoaned the fact that Frantz died alone[8]).

While the marriage of Josie and Frantz Fanon has been seen as a "happy" one,[9] more recent research suggests it involved some domestic violence.[10]

After the death of her husband

From 1962 to 1977 Josie Fanon was a journalist in the Algerian press, and after 1977 wrote for Demain l'Afrique, a magazine published in Paris.[3]

In 1964, she interviewed Che Guevara for Révolution africaine, a weekly publication of the Algerian FLN.[11][12]

Josie Fanon was responsible in 1967 for removing Jean-Paul Sartre's preface from subsequent issues of her husband's The Wretched of the Earth. She felt that Sartre's support for Israel in the Six-Day War represented a position with respect to the Palestinian situation that was incompatible with Fanon's work.[3]

In 1978, she traveled again to the United States, on invitation from the United Nations Special Committee Against Apartheid.[3]

Josie Fanon died in Algiers on 13 July 1989, having committed suicide on that day. She had apparently visited her husband's grave the month before, as well as places where she had lived with him in Tunis, giving Assia Djebar the impression in retrospect that her course of action had been premeditated.[8] A few days prior to her taking her life, she may have been the victim of an assault on the street in broad daylight, according to an eyewitness account published years later.[13]

Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Lewis R. Gordon, 2015, What Fanon Said: A Philosophical Introduction to His Life and Thought, Fordham University Press. (A selection from this work including the introduction and first chapter are online at the Fordham Research Commons)
  2. Adam Schatz, "Where Life is Seized", London Review of Books 39(2), 19 January 2017
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Christian Filostrat, 2019, The Last Day of Frantz Fanon: Followed by an interview with his wife, Josie Fanon, Pierre Kroft Legacy Publishers. (The interview portion of this short book is presented online on as "Frantz Fanon’s Widow Speaks" (2011))
  4. "Marie-Josèphe DUBLÉ, Geneanet.org (accessed 19 Dec 2020; NB- the photo in this profile is most likely that of Mireille Fanon-Mendès France, Fanon's daughter with another woman)
  5. Michel Herland, 2018, "La grande biographie de Frantz Fanon par David Macey," Mondesfrancophones.com
  6. Olivier Marbot, "Il y a 60 ans, Béchir Ben Yahmed posait la première pierre de l’édifice « Jeune Afrique »," Jeune Afrique 17 Oct 2020
  7. Bhakti Shringarpure, "The radical afterlives of Frantz Fanon," Mail & Guardian, 6 Jun 2019
  8. 8.0 8.1 Assia Djebar, Algerian White: A Narrative (Translated by David Kelley and Marjolijn de Jager), Seven Stories, 2003. Pages 174-6, reproduced on the "The Frantz Fanon Blog"
  9. Hazel Rowley, "Revolutionary Road," Washington Post, 8 July 2001. (This is a review of two biographies of Frantz Fanon)
  10. Félix Germain. Decolonizing the Republic: African and Caribbean Migrants in Postwar Paris, 1946-1974, East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2016. As quoted by Elena Flores Ruíz, "The Secret Life of Violence." Originally Published in Frantz Fanon and Emancipatory Social Theory, Eds. D. Byrd and S. J. Miri, BrillPress, 2019: 231-250.
  11. Faligot Roger, « 6. On the road : Guevara l’Africain », dans : , Tricontinentale. Quand Che Guevara, Ben Barka, Cabral, Castro et Hô Chi Minh préparaient la révolution mondiale (1964-1968), sous la direction de Faligot Roger. Paris, La Découverte, « Cahiers libres », 2013, p. 73-82. URL : https://www.cairn.info/tricontinentale--9782707174079-page-73.htm
  12. Priya Prabhakar, "Che Guevara on Africa (Interview with Josie Fanon)," Medium.com, 25 January 2021
  13. Djilali Khellas, "1989, l’année où Josie Fanon s’est suicidée" El Watan, 5 juillet 2011

See also