The President's Daughter & the Richest Freeborn Lady
Elisabeth Samson (1715-1771) was a more than remarkable woman. Born in Paramaribo, Samson was Suriname's first freeborn, black and female millionaire. While the transatlantic slave trade flourished, she headed a successful enterprise consisting of several coffee plantations. Salient detail: her plantations also employed enslaved people. Several times she became embroiled in legal conflicts, including when she wanted to marry a white man. Initially this was forbidden, as 'mixing of races' was not allowed, but later she was vindicated. She died at the age of 55. There was no headstone on her grave in the Nieuwe Oranjetuin in Paramaribo.
The Surinamese writer and historian Cynthia McLeod (1936), who has studied the history of slavery in depth, is on a mission to snatch Samson's story from oblivion forever. In her documentary, filmmaker Mildred Roethof shows how she does this: with sharp analytical insight, an eye for detail and plenty of humour.