The former French international football player and social activist Lilian Thuram is a man on a mission.
In January this year he published his book My Black Stars, from Lucy to Barack Obama (original title in French : Mes étoiles noires, de Lucy à Barack Obama).
And in September he revealed his plan to distribute a DVD in schools to educate children on the subject of racism.
About the book he writes on his website: “Every person – child or adult – needs stars to find their way. Everyone needs models during their formative years, to build their self-esteem, to change their imaginary worlds, and to break the preconceived ideas which they project on themselves and others.
When I was a child, I was shown many stars. I admired them and I dreamt about them: Socrates, Baudelaire, Einstein, Marie Curie, de Gaulle, Mother Teresa… But no one ever told me about black stars. The walls of the classroom were white, the pages of my history textbooks were white. I was completely ignorant of my own ancestors and their history. Except for slavery. This black history was like a vale of fears and tears.
World Cup winner Lilian Thuram discusses his transition from football to social activism, his new foundation 'Education Against Racism' and reveals why he is supporting the Council of Europe's anti-discrimination campaign
Can you give me the name of a black scientist? A black explorer? A black philosopher? A black pharaoh? If you cannot, then this book is for you, whatever the color of your skin. Because the best way to fight racism and intolerance is by enriching our knowledge and our imaginary worlds.
I wrote these portraits of women and men after reading about them and talking to specialists and historians. Lucy, Barack Obama, Aesop, Dona Béatrice, Pushkin, Anne Zingha, Aimé Césaire, Martin Luther King and many others… . These stars prevented me from becoming a victim. They also helped me believe in people and above all have confidence in myself.”
The goal is to distribute 50.000 DVDs in schools. The former international wants to "provide an educational tool for teachers and help reverse the conventional wisdom that children may have on racial issues."
Read more at Lilian Thuram Foundation www.thuram.org