Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Visiting Paris one of these days?

First of all, let me know in advance so I can work in a way to see you.
Secondly, here is my fb update today with a link to an interesting site if you are interested seeing some things you would miss on a regular tour:

"Attended the evening lecture at the American Library last night: "...Monique Wells discusses ‘Black Paris and the Myth of a Colorblind France’ and presents an overview of 200 years of African-American history in Paris." Ms Wells is the co-founder of Discover Paris, and she showed us main points of interest on the African-American itinerary. They have several interesting off-the-beaten-track itineraries."

It was an interesting lecture. I was pleasantly surprised that I did know most of the names she mentioned and not just Richard Wright or Joséphine Baker. I remember reading Sally Hemings by Barbara Chase Riboud (GHS, but I had no idea then!) when it first came out in 1979, so I knew about those two figures. And more. The opening slide of last night's presentation was of that book cover and Ms. Riboud. 
When she showed the picture of the Rosa Parks gym (Rosa Parks did not ever live here, but she is honored in Paris with this gym named after her and there's a Martin Luther King park, too, and a Louis Armstrong square.) I knew exactly where it is because we pass it on our way to our son's place and I remember, when I first noticed it, wondering exactly why it was named after her, in the sense "why a gym?". But if you're a tourist to Paris you would never think to go down to the 14th to the rue Alésia (I think) not near a métro station to find it.
(I'll let you find the info on the names above, if you need to. I have to get to the market...!)
Anyway, I enjoyed listening to Ms. Wells and learning more. The discussion afterwards was also interesting because the audience was such a diverse crowd and expressed lots of points of view on the French colorblind hypocrisy issue.

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