France Honors Poet Aimé Césaire At The Panthéon

France honored late Martinican poet and politician Aimé Césaire Wednesday at the famed Panthéon in Paris. The French government paid tribute to the grand man of letters in a national ceremony nearly three years after his death at the age of 94. The Panthéon pays homage to France’s greatest intellectuals.

Césaire was one of the founding fathers of the "Negritude" movement that celebrated black consciousness. In Paris in the 1930s he helped found the journal Black Student, which gave birth to the idea of “negritude,” a call to blacks to cultivate pride in their heritage. Among his more famous works of literature are Notebook of a Return to my Native Land and Discourse on Colonialism.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy presided over the tribute to the Martinican poet that was attended by more than 1,000 persons inside the Panthéon. Among those present were family, friends and dignitaries. Césaire died April 17, 2008 in Martinique. President Sarkozy dedicated a plaque in Césaire’s memory at the Panthéon. Source Suite101

See pictures of the event at fxgpariscaraibe - "Césaire au Panthéon"

Speech of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, part 1

Part 2

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