May 28, 1848, it was a Sunday. 173 years ago…
In order to never forget and pass it on to future generations!
Pa jen oubliyé !
First of all, let’s remember the definition of a slave : it’s a person who has no condition of liberty. This person belongs to a master exercising absolute power over him. Considered as movable property, as a commodity, the slave can be sold, separated from his family, he is forced to do all the work that his master requires of him.
This is one of the worst historical facts than mankind has ever known.
On April 27, 1848, the drafting of a lon-awaited decree, on the initiative of Victor Schoelcher made it possible to abolish slavery definitively in all the colonies.
The news put some time to reach the various French colonies, although it arrived and quickly than the slave planters would have liked.
Its application in each of the overseas territories has indeed been different for political or social reasons.
This April 27 decree provided for the abolition of slavery two months later to ensure the sugar cane harvest, but well-informed slaves impose their own timetable after violent revolts.
This is how the Governor of Martinique decided to abolish slavery on May 22, without waiting for the official arrival of the decree, which concerns nearly 75,000 slaves !
The Governor of Guadeloupe does the same on May 27, the date chosen on the island to commemorate the liberation of its 87,000 slaves.
This will take place in Saint-Martin the next day. The exceptional feature of the dual nationality of Saint-Martin will only allow slaves from Dutch part to be freed in soit1863, an elapsed time of 15 years after the French part.
Other islands will follow:
In Guyane, it will be June 10, but truly effective August 10 for the 12,500 slaves.
In Reunion island, 62,000 slaves will be free on December 20 due to the resistance from the settlers who claimed not to have received the decree.
It took a few decades for this to finally become a reality because of a very long and particularly complex history hidden behind the proclamation of the Governor of Guadeloupe for the emancipation of the slave population.
The beginnings of the evolution of these practices began, in 1794 with the proclamation of the first abolition of slavery by the National Convention but which unfortunately led to its revocation in 1802. It will therefore be necessary to wait a few more years, in 1817, an ordinance issued by Kind Louis XVIII which prohibits the introduction of black slaves into the French colonies and the law of April 15, 1818 which abolishes of the « slave trade » (sales of humans).
That is to say 54 years of fighting, of major social and political transformations and it will take 100 years, in 1948, for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be signed. After so many years of suffering and injustice, this declaration recognizes human rights as the basis of freedom, justice and peace!
We have a duty to pass this past on to future generations, history must not be forgotten and we cannot, at any time, relax our vigilance, nor trivialize the gravity of these acts.
Do not hesitate to discover the ACTe Memorial in Guadeloupe,
The basic ambition of this monument is to create a unique place for the collective memory of slavery and trafficking, all open to the contemporary world. .
In memory of all those who lived through these atrocities, but also of all those who fought against slavery.