The father of the swashbuckling Alexandre Dumas pere, who rose from private to general in Napoleon's army in 20 months, of whom it was said had the strength to lift a horse singlehandedly, who was the prototype for dozens of Dumas pere's literary heroes, was born of a Negro mother from San Domingo and used her surname instead of his own when he entered the army in order to assuage the feelings of his aristocratic father.
No such delicate expedients were necessary for his son and his grandson, Dumas pere, one-quarter Negro, and pere's illegitimate offspring, Alexandre Dumas fils, an octoroon
Dumas pere, the most widely produced playwright of the 19th century and author of "The Three Musketeers" and "The Count of Monte-Cristo," and Dumas fils, the author of "La Dame aux Camelias" ("Camille"), one of the most prolifically produced plays of all time, were recognized throughout France in their lifetimes as men of substance as well as men of color.
As for Dumas fils, he was elected to the French Academy, the highest civil honor that could be bestowed on a citizen of France - an honor that was denied his father. Moreover, according to MacNicholas, one member of the very conservative Academy uttered, "at some point, speaking out on a matter of controversy, a very kind word of praise about Dumas fils' strong Negro vitality and sensibility, and I think he was praising his candor - so it wasn't just that you liked him in spite of his being Negro. There was not that kind of condescension among his peers."