Thursday, June 11, 2015

Homage to Félix Eboué (1884-1944)

The French non-profit association CIMACDOM - (Comité International pour la mémoire des anciens combattants d'Outre-Mer, or International Committee for the Remembrance of Overseas Veterans) - and the DGOM (Délégation Générale de l'Outre-Mer - General Overseas Delegation) - hosted an evening honoring Félix Eboué in the auditorium at the Hôtel de Ville de Paris (Paris' City Hall) on Thursday, June 4, 2015.

Hôtel de Ville
© Discover Paris!

CIMACDOM's mission is to "commemorate, promote, and safeguard the memory of our former overseas veterans."

CIMACDOM mission statement
© Discover Paris!

Félix Adolphe Éboué (26 December 1884 – 17 March 1944) was a Black French Guianan-born colonial administrator and Free French leader. He was the first black French man appointed to high posts in the French colonies (Governor of Guadeloupe in 1936, Governor of Chad in 1939, Governor of French Equatorial Africa in 1940). Humanist and Franc-Mason, he was the first person to respond to General Charles de Gaulle's rallying call for the support of Free France. Cameroon and Congo would follow his lead.

Eboué is the first black to have his remains placed at the Pantheon in Paris; his ashes were transferred there in 1949.

Félix Eboué
Photo by Discover Paris!; from the screening of Félix Eboué, le Visionnaire

The evening was hosted by Isabelle Gratien, founder/president of CIMACDOM and grand-niece of Félix Eboué.

Isabelle Gratien
© Discover Paris!

The main feature of the evening was a screening of the documentary film, Félix Eboué le Visionnaire (Félix Eboué, the Visionary), which was produced by Barcha Bauer. Monsieur Bauer addressed the audience just before the screening to explain why he is so passionate about preserving the memory and promoting the legacy of Félix Eboué.

Title frame of Félix Eboué, le visionnaire
Photo by Discover Paris!; from the screening of Félix Eboué, le Visionnaire

Barcha Bauer
© Discover Paris!

The other speakers on the program were:

  • Olivier Stirn, former Minister of Overseas Territories and Minister of Tourism, who spoke of the relationship between Eboué and General Charles de Gaulle
  • Christine Levisse-Touzé, historian and director of the Jean Moulin museum and the Memorial for Marshall Leclerc de Hautecloque and the Liberation of Paris, who spoke of how Eboué's wife, Eugénie Eboué-Tell and his children participated in the French Resistance
  • François Broche, journalist and historian, who spoke of the enormous importance of Eboué's activities and policies in the support of Free France during World War II
  • Henri Hazaël-Massieux, historian and former civil administrator of the Defense Ministry, who recalled numerous, little-discussed implications of Eboué's service

The speeches were followed by poetry recited by Isabelle Gratien; Joèl Conte, president of Europoésie; and Felicien Jerent, general secretary of CIMACDOM.

The floor was then opened for a Q&A session with the audience.

The evening ended with refreshments - including five kinds of home-made rum punch!

Refreshments are served!
© Discover Paris!

For information about CIMACDOM (in French), click HERE.


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