Toussaint L'Ouverture (1746–1803) was a Haitian revolutionary leader. Born enslaved, he became a general in the French army but after driving out the British and Spanish expeditions, he took control of the island. Napoleon sent an expedition to restore restore control and the re-establishment of slavery. He was treacherously seized from a meeting, imprisoned and died of neglect in prison.
The Trinidadian socialist, historian and journalist C L R James first tackled the subject of the Haitian Revolution on stage. In 1934 he wrote a play, The Black Jacobins, about the life of the Haitian revolutionary Toussaint L'Ouverture – subtitled The Story of the Only Successful Slave Revolt in History. It was performed at the Westminster Theatre in London in 1936, the production starring Paul Robeson, the civil rights campaigner and one of the most famous actors of his day, as the former slave who embraced the French Revolution's ideals of liberty and equality and united the Haitian people against French colonial power.