Louise Michel

In France, Louise Michel—who died on this day in 1905—is celebrated as the heroine of the Paris Commune of 1871. Schools, railway stations and streets are named after her. In recent years, a number of new biographies have documented her legendary life, and over a thousand of her letters have been collated and published. But outside France her history and legacy are not widely known. Louise Michel receives fleeting references in most histories of the Commune, when the people of Paris rose up between March and May 1871 to establish a short-lived workers’ government in the city. But after the Commune was crushed, Michel was captured, imprisoned and exiled to the other side of the world. From there, she disappears from most histories of the 19th century. Beyond the tumultuous days of the Paris Commune, however, Louise Michel continued to lead a life of rebellion and hope. [Continue reading.]

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