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The sotry
of a Man

Aimé Césaire

musee aime cezaire

A Man from

Roots and ideology

Aimé Césaire was born in Basse-Pointe in 1913. He was an excellent student and won a scholarship to the Lycée Schoelcher in Fort-de-France, where he had a fine education before leaving Martinique in 1931 for Paris. There, he enrolled in a preparatory course for the École Normale Supérieure at the prestigious high school Lycée Louis Le Grand. It was here that he met Léopold Sédar Senghor, with whom he forged a close friendship. 

Together with other West Indian and African students, Léon Gontran Damas and Birago Diop, they founded the magazine “L'Etudiant Noir" in 1934. 
It was in this magazine that the term “negritude” first appeared. 
This concept, built to combat the French colonial project, aimed to reject the French cultural assimilation project and the devaluation of Africa and its culture.  
Studying at the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) in Paris in 1935, he began writing “Cahier d’un Retour au Pays Natal” in 1936. This was the first book in a series of essays on the French colonial project.

After graduating from the ENS, Aimé Césaire returned to Martinique in 1939, where he became a teacher at the Lycée Schoelcher and published the literary magazine “Tropiques”.

tropique musee aime cezaire

An man of 

Politics and activism

Aimé Césaire was Mayor of Fort-de-France between 1945 and 2001. He also a member of parliament from 1946 to 1993.

In 1946, he played a major role as rapporteur for the departmentalization law making Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Reunion French departments. 

For 22 years, Aimé Césaire was politically involved with the Communist Party. He left it in 1956, founding the Martinique Progressive Party in 1958. Through this party, he would demand Martinique’s independence, striving for its modernization and the promotion of its culture.

As member of parliament then general councilor and then president of the regional council, he left an indelible mark on Martinique's political scene.

Aimé Césaire

A man with a

Poetry, essays and theater

Parallel to his political life, Aimé Césaire continued his literary work, publishing several collections of poetry. His main works include:

  • Cahier d'un retour au pays natal (1939, poetic work)
  • Soleil Cou Coupé (1948, poetic work)
  • Discourse on colonialism (1950, anti-colonialist essay)
  • Et les chiens se taisent (1956, play)
  • Cadastre (1961, collection of poems)
  • La tragédie du Roi Christophe (1963, play)
  • Une saison au Congo (1966, play)
  • Une tempête (1969, play)
  • Moi, laminaire (1982, collection of poems)

Both a poet and an essayist as well as a playwright, he considerably influenced French West Indian and African literature and continues to mark generations.

He died in Fort-de-France on April 17, 2008. There has been a plaque honoring him at the Pantheon since 2011.


musee aime cezaire

Martinique with a big