goodnight aime cesaire

April 22, 2008 at 9:50 pm (africa, anti-oppression, anti-racism, democratic republic of congo, poetry)

Aime Cesaire is dead/  His movement: negritude  was the philosophic and poetic expression of black self-love and self-pride.  And he was one of the messenger across continents maintaining our as blacks cultural discourse among the diaspora and Africa.  Cultural workers sucha as Aime throughout the centuries, especially in the post-slavery twentieth century created languages and fed communities throughout.  He was inspired by the Harlem Renaissance, born in the Carribbean-Martinique, and wrote about the Congo and Lumumba.

His writing gave me my first glimpses of Blackness and even though I disagree with some of articulations and interpretations of Black identity, i am grateful for the language the images the voice of a fierce Romanticism of the Black experience.

So goodnight.

check out The Root

and below: the Associate Press

Martinique poet Aime Cesaire dies at 94
From Associated Press

FORT-DE-FRANCE, Martinique (AP) — Aime Cesaire, a poet honored
throughout the French-speaking world and a crusader for West Indian
rights, has died at 94.

Cesaire died Thursday after at a Fort-de-France hospital where he was
being treated for heart problems and other ailments, said government
spokeswoman Marie Michele Darsieres.

He was one of the most celebrated cultural figures in the Caribbean
and was revered in his native Martinique, which sent him to France’s
parliament for nearly half a century and repeatedly elected him mayor
of the capital.

Cesaire helped found the “Black Student” journal in Paris in the
1930s that launched the idea of “negritude,” urging blacks to
cultivate pride in their heritage. His 1950 “Discourse on
Colonialism” became a classic of French political literature.

French Culture Minister Christine Albanel said Cesaire “imbued the
French language with his liberty and his revolt.”

“He made (the French language) beat to the rhythm of his spells, his
cries, his appeals to overcome oppression, invoking the soul of
subjugated peoples to urge the living to raise themselves up,” she

His best known works included the essay “Negro I am, Negro I Will
Remain” and the poem “Notes From a Return to the Native Land.”

Cesaire was born June 26, 1913, in Basse-Pointe, Martinique and moved
to France for high school and university studies. He graduated from
one of the country’s most elite institutes, the Ecole Normale

Cesaire returned to Martinique during World War II and taught at a
high school in Fort-de-France, where he served as mayor from 1945 to
2001, except for a blip in 1983-84.

Even political rivals paid him homage.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy successfully led a campaign last
year to change the name of Martinique’s airport in honor of Cesaire,
despite the poet’s refusal to meet him in the run-up to the 2007
French elections. Cesaire endorsed Sarkozy’s Socialist rival,
Segolene Royal.

Cesaire complained that Sarkozy had endorsed a 2005 French bill
citing the “positive role” of colonialism. Cesaire spoke ardently
against the measure’s language, and it was later removed after
complaints from former French colonies and France’s overseas

“I remain faithful to my beliefs and remain inflexibly
anti-colonialist, ” Cesaire said in a statement at the time.

Sarkozy on Thursday praised Cesaire as “a great poet” and a “great humanist.”

“As a free and independent spirit, throughout his whole life he
embodied the fight for the recognition of his identity and the
richness of his African roots,” Sarkozy said. “Through his universal
call for the respect of human dignity, consciousness and
responsibility, he will remain a symbol of hope for all oppressed

Royal called him “an eminent symbol of a mixed-race France” and urged
that he be buried in the Pantheon, where French heroes from Victor
to Marie and Pierre Curie are interred.

“A great voice has died out, that of a man of conviction, of
creation, of testimony, who awakened consciousness throughout his
life, blasted apart hypocrisies, brought hope to all who were
humiliated, and was a tireless fighter for human dignity,” Royal said.

Cesaire was the honorary president of her support committee during
the presidential campaign.

Cesaire was affiliated with the French Communist Party early in his
career but became disillusioned in the 1950s and founded the
Martinique Progressive Party in 1958. He later allied with the
Socialist Party in France’s National Assembly, where he served from
1946-1956 and 1958-1993.

Associated Press writer Angela Doland in Paris, France, contributed
to this report.

You can compromise on strategy and tactics, but not on principles.” (Barack Obama)


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