Liberté, Égalité: The Black Paris Tour

arrondisement. I may fly back for the chocolate croissants alone. This petit café has effectively ruined the Costco 20 pack for me; it truly pales in comparison. We began with a short quiz to get us all in the mind frame of black history and culture. The tour was several hours of sightseeing, culture, history and fun facts–great for the natural historian. As instructed by our tour guide, a large number of the architectural details on the buildings were heavily modeled after staples in Egyptian culture like the Egyptian goddess, Isis. The Arc de Triomphe was a replica of certain battle tactics implemented by Hannibal of Carthage who is…you guessed it: a black man, arguably, ( but for the purposes of this blog, we’ll claim him! ) What fascinated me about this tour was that black Americans—you read that correctly, yes black Americans contributed heavily to the entire structure and culture of current French society. During the 1940s era when America was blatantly unjust to its black population, it was not uncommon for those entertainers, soldiers and poets to head overseas to Paris in an effort to practice their craft among more appreciative consumers. And this occurred not only then, but all throughout the history of Parisian society. Does Josephine Baker ring a bell to anyone? How about one of my personal favs? The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, a black man? Does it surprise anyone to hear that he was black? Or that there is an entire block dedicated to the Dumas family; the statue illustrates the universality of his writings, complete with a statue of the man himself with his textured hair and the literary audience essentially worshipping at his feet. On the tour, I felt a since of pride that welled up in my stomach unmatched to that in American society. I felt valued. But please do not misunderstand: France harbors the same types of problems that Black people face daily and so far, to my knowledge, there is no black paradise. That aside, I felt at home, at ease and a sense of belonging. If  former citizens like Bessie Coleman, every jazz great to blow his horn, black poets and playwrights could flee America and literally carve a place for themselves in this European world, certainement une femme noire comme moi peut aussi. Allons-y! (certainly a black woman like me can too. Let’s go!)]]>

2 comments
  1. Ulonda Best
    Ulonda Best
    November 2, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Have you heard of Essence China? I think that both “We buy black” and “Rare Essence” could benefit from your blog! You are awesome! Continue please, and Thank you.

    Reply
    • Catherine Cartwright
      Catherine Cartwright
      November 2, 2017 at 9:57 am

      Thank you! Essence China huh? Ooo! I like the sound of that!

      Reply
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *