150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery and the march on 23 May 1998

In the build up to the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery, over one hundred different associations and individuals responded to a call to organize an event to honour their slave ancestors to formally mark this historic occasion. They formed the 'Committee to Create a Combined Commemoration for the 150th Anniversary of the Abolition of the Enslavement of Negroes in the French Colonies' ('Comité pour une Commémoration Unitaire du Cent cinquantenaire de l’Abolition de l’Esclavage des Nègres dans les Colonies Françaises', or CCUCAENCF), under the presidency of Serge Romana (the current President of the association Comité Marche du 23 mai - CM98), whose founding members included associations such as Cifordom. The Committee decided that they would hold a silent march across Paris (from République to Nation) in which some 40,000 people (mostly originating from France's overseas departments) participated. During the event, around 10,000 signatures were collected to petition the French government to recognise slavery and the slave trade as crimes against humanity. This public demonstration formed the foundation of the association Comité Marche du 23 mai - CM98 and remains a landmark event for those individuals and associations who participated in it as part of the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.



Start date: 
1998CE May 23rd
This silent march represents a key moment in terms of recognizing the slave past and an important moment of solidarity among many different associations, trade unions and national organizations concerned with human rights