Comité pour une commémoration unitaire de l’abolition de l’esclavage des nègres dans les colonies françaises (CCUCAENCF)

64-70, rue de Crimée
75019 Paris
Registration date: 
Thursday, February 12, 1998
Registration details: 

Registration details can be found in the Journal Officiel.

Defence of Citizen Rights
Social justice
Regional/local: A smaller organization or association focused on local/regional activities.
Historical overview: 

On 23rd January 1998, on the initiative of the Guadeloupian lawyer Hubert Jabot, and the association Bwafouyé, represented by Gilles Gabon, Emmanuel Gordien, Franck Saline, and Viviane Serge Romana, a meeting of about a hundred Caribbean personalities and associations was held in Paris in order to organise a single event for the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery. The meeting organisers proposed to make this occasion a great tribute to the slave ancestors. It was then decided to remember their ancestors by walking silently through the streets of the capital. On 23rd January, the participants created the Comité pour une Commémoration Unitaire du Cent cinquantenaire de l’Abolition de l’Esclavage des Nègres dans les Colonies Françaises (CCUCAENCF).

On 2nd May 1998, the CCUCAENCF organised a day of reflection on the work and duty to remember the descendants of slaves at the Grand Orient de France. Academics, researchers and public figures from the Caribbean, Guyana and La Réunion debated with an audience of 800 participants. Among them were Françoise Vergès (historian), Hélène Boisdur-Tetoffel (university), Patrick Chamoiseau (writer), Viviane Romana (psychologist) Dr. Serge Romana (Chairman CCUCAENCF), Emmanuel Gordien (doctor), Octave Cestor (president of Association Mémoire de l’outre-mer and promoter of the exhibition 'Les Anneaux de la Mémoire' in Nantes) and Gérard Jeanne-Rose (president of AMITAG, the West Indian-Guyanese workers’ association).

On 23rd May 1998, 40,000 women and men, mostly Antillean families from the Paris region and the province, marched from Republic to Nation. They did not shout slogans or call for revenge, but circulated petitions asking for slavery to be recognised as a crime against humanity. Ten thousand signatures were collected. That day, the feeling among many of the participants was that they had given humanity and dignity back to their grandparents or ancestors. May 23rd remains in the memory of all of the participants as a moving and unprecedented tribute. It was also a meaningful and unexpected key-moment during the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.

On 31st December 1998, the CCUCAENCF dissolved as stated in its statutes. The organisers of the 'Marche du 23 mai 1998' (May 23rd March) decided to continue the memory work they had started on 23rd May 1998. After a period of reflection between January and May 1999, they decided to create an association defending the memory of the victims of slavery in metropolitan France, entitled the Comité Marche du 23 mai 1998.

Summary of objectives: 

The objective of CCUCAENCF was to commemorate the abolition of the enslavement of Black people in the French colonies.

Defence of citizen rights
Human rights
Memories of slavery
Slave ancestry
Social justice