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An ardent defender of the West Indian identity
Aimé Césaire - a Martinican poet, man of letters, and politician - went down in history as the founder of the concept of Negritude after his studies in Paris. Born on June 26, 1913, in a modest family of Basse-Pointe and died on April 17, 2008, in Fort-de-France, he is, with Léopold Sédar Senghor and Léon-Gontran Damas, the major representative of the literary movement. Profoundly anti-colonialist, he led a political career alongside his literary commitment as deputy of Martinique and mayor of Fort-de-France for 56 consecutive years, from 1945 to 2001. The concept of Negritude born in 1939 in a long poem entitled Cahier d'un retour au pays natal, is a revolt that expresses both the refusal of the easiness of exoticism and assimilationist complacency, exalts the suffering of negroes, and values ​​black people. Césaire invites West Indians to assume their history, linked to colonization and slavery, and to cultivate the pride of being black to express their own culture. He defended this concept by founding the review Tropiques in 1941 and embarking on a political career from 1945. In 1958, he founded the Martinican Progressive Party to promote the autonomy of his island. A committed politician, an inspired poet, and an ardent defender of the Caribbean language and identity, Aimé Césaire is one of the major intellectuals of the 20th century.
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