Aimé Césaire – Political Poet

Césaire was our Martinque literary genius; and not only was he a master with the pen, he was a force in the political sphere.

Born in 1913 on the small island of Martinique in the glorious Caribbean, Césaire thrived in school and was awarded a scholarship to Parisian school Lycée Louis- le Grand and later attended the prestigious École Normale Supérieure. While living there he become known as one of the founders of the Negritude movement- Black French thinkers of the 1930s – along with other future leaders like the soon to be first president of Senegal, Léopold Senghar. He also created literary review ‘The Black Student’ with them to encourage the celebration of Black identity.

In 1939 he returned to Martinique with his new wife and son and became an influential teacher, inspiring up and coming writers and thinkers alike. To add another string to his bow he was elected mayor of Fort-de-France, capital of Martinique, in 1945 with the French Communist party and had a successful tenure, however he became disillusioned with such beliefs and resigned in 1956 and retired from politics in 2001.

Cesaire will forever be celebrated for his uplifting Black identity beleifs and proving that we should not be afraid to use up all of our talents.


#thistooishistory Shirley Chisholm – Unbought & Unbossed!

If they don’t give you a seat at the table, you can bring in a folding chair.

This lady did not mess around, she was outspoken and defiant in her nature, not allowing anything or any racial sexist bigot to get in her way. She stood for gender and racial equality and was a force to be reckoned with!

Shirley Chisholm was born in Brooklyn New York to a Guyanese father and Bajan mother in 1924 and spent some time living in Barbados with her grandmother as a child. In 1946 Chisholm graduated cum lade with a Sociology BA from Brooklyn College and later a MA from Columbia University in Early Childhood Education. 

She started off her career as a nursery school teacher and rose to become the director of two daycare centres between 1946-53. After earning her MA she also became the Education Consultant for New York’s division of daycare from 1959-64 and was then elected to New York state legislature, becoming the second Black woman in the Albany district. She left Congress in 1983 and co founded the National Congress of Black Women campaigning for Jesse Jackson’s early presidential bid. If that wasn’t enough she also taught at Holyoake College!

However her most amazing achievement is her monumental presidential run. Although she did not win her bid to be the Democratic representative of New York, it is special as she was the first Black woman to do so. Her stand and her point was clear- anyone who wishes to do right should be heard, it is their right.