From the Atlantic to the Mediterranean : Fréjus and Marseilles as alternative capitals of Black France?

Murphy, David; Clavaron, Yves and Gannier, Odile, eds. (2022) From the Atlantic to the Mediterranean : Fréjus and Marseilles as alternative capitals of Black France? In: Lieux de mémoire et océan. Honoré Champion, Paris, pp. 71-83. ISBN 9782745357113

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Abstract

[More recently, however, pioneering work, most notably by French historians associated with the ACHAC collective, as well as by cultural and literary scholars, not least Lydie Moudileno and Kate Marsh,2 has slowly begun to shift the critical focus towards what is often termed the ‘postcolonial provinces’: although Black Paris may have played a pivotal role in the development of what we might term a Black French Atlantic, there were, in fact, significant black populations in many French port cities, including Le Havre, Bordeaux and Marseilles. This essay will focus on the latter city as well as, perhaps more surprisingly for some readers, its near neighbour, the small Mediterranean town of Fréjus. If Marseilles, as a major Mediterranean port, is already well known as an ‘immigrant’ city, long host to populations from North and sub-Saharan Africa (and further afield), the role of Fréjus in the history of Black France is somewhat obscured. This small seaside town might, however, lay claim to having served as the true capital of Black France in the first half of the twentieth century, for it was there, during the First World War, that the French Army created a major military base for its black African troops, the tirailleurs sénégalais (a base that remained in service until the 1960s).]

ORCID iDs

Murphy, David ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4450-6308; Clavaron, Yves and Gannier, Odile