Martinique Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Aime Cesaire’s Birth

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Above: Martinique Regional Council President Serge Letchimy at a ceremony Wednesday

By the Caribbean Journal staff

It was 100 years ago Wednesday that Aime Cesaire, the leading political figure in Martinique in the 20th century, was born.

Cesaire, a writer, poet, thinker and longtime mayor of Fort de France, inspired multitudes as one of the founders the “negritude” movement.

Serge Letchimy, the president of Martinique’s Regional Council, said meeting Cesaire was an “honour and a privilege.”

“His whole life was only thinking, wisdom, goodness,” he said. “Martinique will never forget you. Martinique thanks you.”

Martinique, which renamed its international airport for Cesaire in 2007, has been holding a series of celebrations this year to mark the centennial of Cesaire’s birth.

Cesaire was born in Basse-Pointe Martinique in 1913, before moving to Paris, where he lived for eight years. It was there that he founded the landmark literary review called L’Etudiant Noir, “the black student,” which was a forebear of the Negritude movement, which encouraged black youths to “maintain a positive racial identity.” He served for 55 years as the mayor of Martinique’s capital city.

Cesaire passed away in 2008.

 

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