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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in France series at FrenchPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind French holidays and observances. I’m Matt, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 21- The Annual Day of the Memory of Slavery. In French, it’s called Journée annuelle de la mémoire de l'esclavage.
Do you know why May 10 is an important date in France? It’s the Annual Day of the Memory of Slavery. “Slavery” in French is esclavage and a “slave” is called an esclave. French people celebrate the abolition of slavery on this day. We’re going to tell you more about this day in this lesson.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
Who was the first black general in the French army’s history, a man who was actually a slave in the past?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
In the sixteenth century, the colonization of the New World called for new labor needs, so Europeans brought slaves in from Africa, or Afrique. With the revolution, deputies of the Convention abolished slavery once to stop revolts in the West Indies colonies. But general Napoléon Bonaparte repealed this measure and legalized slavery again on May 20, 1802. French people had to wait until the Republican fervor of the Revolution of February 1848, for slavery to be completely abolished in mainland France as well as Overseas Territories.
The date of May 10 corresponds to the adoption of the Taubira Law by Parliament on May 10, 2001. This French law recognizes slavery as a “crime against humanity” or, in French, crime contre l’humanité. President Jacques Chirac decided in 2006 to make May 10 the Day of Commemoration of the Abolition of Slavery in mainland France in memory of slaves and in commemoration of the ending of this practice.
On the Annual Day of the Memory of Slavery, several memorial events take place in mainland France and the Overseas Territories. For example, the Musée du Quai Branly, or Quai Branly Museum in Paris, which specifically displays collections of objects from African civilizations, participates actively in this day. Specific events are organized at the museum on this day, and collections related to the theme of slavery are put online on its website.
One famous abolitionist was a woman named Marie Olympe de Gouges, who was born in 1748 and executed by guillotine in 1793. She was especially known for her championing of women’s rights, but she also fought to promote the abolition of slavery through her writing, such as her famous play titled Zamore et Mirza meaning “Zamore and Mirza.”
Now it's time to answer our quiz question!
Do you know who was the first black general in the French army’s history, a man who was actually a slave in the past?
His name was Toussaint Louverture. He was a former slave born in Haiti in 1783. He led the slave revolt against the white colonists in 1791. Three years later the French Republic abolished slavery and Toussaint joined, becoming the first black general in the French army. The French Army is called Armée Française in French.
How was this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Does your country have any holidays related to freedom?
Please leave a comment telling us at FrenchPod101.com and we’ll see you next time!


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FrenchPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Do you have any holidays about freedom?

Sunday at 06:38 PM
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Bonjour Brenda !

Thank you for your comment! I don't know a thing about Malta history and that was really interesting to read about it!

Bon dimanche

Marie Alice

Team FrenchPod101.com

Brenda Magro
Friday at 05:34 AM
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Even in Malta we have Freedom Day. We celebrate it on the 31st March. Although it is freedom day it's not related to slavery. Malta got it's Independence from the British colony but I must admit that they did a good job while ruling the country because they introduced us to lots of good stuff. But now we are a free country, just in the middle of the Mediterranean sea.

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Thursday at 01:28 PM
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@Patricia Macmaster,

@Pauline de Silva,

Thank you for sharing your information and feedback with us. Let us know if you have any questions.



Team FrenchPod101.com

Pauline de Silva
Saturday at 01:52 PM
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My country, Malaysia, celebrates its independence from colonial rule ( British) on August 31 every year. It's called Hari Merdeka ( Freedom Day )

Patricia Macmaster
Friday at 04:59 PM
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I found the information to be very interesting.

Friday at 09:22 AM
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François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture was born 9 May 1743, not in 1783.