On February 26, 1987, in Miami, a tremendous tribute was paid to Césaire during a gala, a tribute paid to him, quite a symbol, by Wole Soyinka, the first Black Nobel Prize in Literature, and by Léopold Sédar Senghor.
The brilliant speech delivered by the Martinican poet at the International University of Florida clearly marked all the participants in this conference.
Césaire developed there the same sense of this movement which, revolted at the start against “European reductionism”, is still today through the awareness, of our loyalty and our solidarity.
Like forty years before, when he created this opening with Senghor and Damascus, Aimé Césaire then gave hope to the minorities.
That evening, the major conference given at the International University of Florida in Miami was entitled: “Négritude ethnicity and African culture in the Americas” More than 500 ambassadors of the political and cultural world of the black diaspora had responded present for this meeting, particularly dedicated to the founder of the Negritude movement, the Martinican poet but then, also, mayor of Fort-de-France, Aimé Césaire.
A global tribute which, here, in Miami, had a very particular impact, given the quality of the personalities present at this conference, who came, the word is not too strong, thank, as Professor Carlos Moore said, coordinator of this event “the great writer of the black world …”. Also present for this “Of black history” as the Miami Herald, the other precursor of negritude, titled the former president of Senegal Léopold Senghor, who came, for the occasion, for the first time on a private visit to the United States.
Organized for the third time in twenty years, this great gathering of black intelligentsia took place, at the time, in a world plagued by intolerance and segregation.
If the world of the black peoples remembers above all its martyrs, it also knows how to refer to its universal leaders investing in the anger and the revolt of the dominated. It is undoubtedly there, all the force of the homage to Aimé Césaire.
The world honor he received in the capital of Florida took his peers for nothing more or less than the form of debt repayment. Cultural roots in mother Africa, negritude, staking a story. This is all that black intellectuals and particularly American intellectuals re-appropriate then almost by apologizing. The debt repaid in some way by these intellectuals is quite simply that of history, the truth of a universal reading of the oppressed. Césaire’s text sweats, in fact, as much from the bloody back of Virginia cotton pickers, from the armpits of the Haitian peasant, from the wrinkled forehead of Latin American peasants, from the “ladies” feet of the Martinican cultivator. It is this fight that is part of the movement of this Miami conference.
The Martinican writer is present as the symbol of this memory, of this fidelity, but also of this solidarity which is negritude. An active and offensive attitude of the mind as Césaire said against “the system leading to a very strict hierarchy …”.
“A rational and scientific form of barbarism”
A hierarchy in which, of course, the negro, and the dominated in general, has no place, because caught in a universal system, which has established: “a rational and scientific form of barbarism … “.
In this sense, neither his literature, nor his poetry, or quite simply any speculation, is “innocent or harmless …”.
The fight for the negritude as a movement reactive to alienation is therefore still topical in a world still bogged down in inequality.
Aimé Césaire has no more and no less placed this fight in the universal, that is to say, in commitment and surpassing.
Also, Carlos Moore, the great organizer, of this conference has clearly succeeded in his bet: that of fraternity and solidarity.