My Black Stars
- 9781800859173 (Paperback)
People, young and old, need stars to guide them. They need models to construct their own identity, to build their self-esteem, to change the way they see the world and to overcome their own and others’ prejudice.
During my childhood, many stars were pointed out to me. I admired them, dreamt about them: Socrates, Baudelaire, Einstein, Marie Curie, General de Gaulle, Mother Teresa… But nobody ever spoke to me about black stars. The world of my education was white, from the colour of the school walls to the pages of my textbooks. I knew nothing about my own ancestors. Slavery was the only black subject ever mentioned. In this vision, the history of Black people could only ever be a vale of tears and strife.
Can you tell me the name of a black scientist?
A black explorer?
A black philosopher?
A black pharaoh?
If you don’t know the answer to these questions, then, whatever the colour of your skin, this book is for you. Because the best way to fight racism and intolerance is to educate ourselves and to broaden our imaginations.
The portraits of the men and women in this book are a product of my own reading and my interviews with scholars. Starting with Lucy and ending with Barack Obama, and along the way meeting Aesop, Dona Béatrice, Pushkin, Anne Zingha, Aimé Césaire, Martin Luther King and many others. These stars have allowed me to reject the idea that I am a victim, to renew my faith in mankind and, above all, to believe in myself.
- Lilian Thuram
This translation of Lilian Thuram’s bestselling 2010 volume, Mes Etoiles Noires, by Laurent Dubois (University of Virginia), finally brings his anti-racism work to the attention of an English-language audience (the book has already been translated into several European languages). At a time when the Black Lives Matter movement has reminded us of the need to tell more complex stories about our shared past, this volume constitutes a timely intervention by a prominent black sporting figure.
'At the heart of [The Lilian Thuram Foundation For Education Against Racism's] activities has been the publication of a series of books that do the legwork of imagining the world differently. The first and best-selling of these is My Black Stars [...] now finally available in English. [...] Thuram tackles the persistance of a world view that consistently prioritises white people and white culture, [...] keeping the struggle for equality at the heart of the public debate.' David Murphy, When Saturday Comes
Table of Contents
|Our African ‘Grandmother’||15|
|The Black Pharaohs||19|
|A Wise Man from Ancient Greece||26|
|‘Every Life is a Life’||29|
|The Pride and Courage of a Queen||33|
|The Struggle for a New Kingdom||39|
|General-in-Chief of the Russian Imperial Army||46|
|A Philosopher from Ghana||49|
|The Musician of the Enlightenment||52|
|‘Uproot the Tree of Slavery with Me’||57|
|The Liberator of Haiti||69|
|The Poet of Paradise Lost||73|
|The Oath of the Ancestors||77|
|‘A Fist Shot Up to Shatter the Fog’||79|
|‘Ain’t I a Woman?’||87|
|The Greatest Russian Poet||91|
|The First Black American Presidential Candidate||95|
|Smuggling in the Name of Liberty||102|
|Against the Invention of the Races||107|
|The First Black ‘Nègre’ at the École Polytechnique of France||113|
|The First Man to Reach the North Pole||117|
|A Whirlwind on Two Wheels||121|
|The Hell of the Human Zoos||124|
|Back to Africa||129|
|‘No Time Rest, All the Time Make War, All the Time Kill Blacks’||137|
|Champion of the World||144|
|The Black Dragonfly||150|
|A Pen of Rage||154|
|The Silent Resistance Fighter||163|
|The Genius of Black Scientific Pioneers||171|
|‘Southern Trees Bear a Strange Fruit’||178|
|‘Our Time Has Come’||183|
|Returning Africa to Her Children||192|
|Black Skin, White Masks||203|
|Liberty or Death||219|
|A Dream That Changed the World||226|
|A Militant for the African People||235|
|‘I am Super Fast! I Fight with my Mind’||242|
|The Man who Ran the Gauntlet||248|
|From Ten Thousand Days in Prison to … the Presidency||253|
|The Voice of the Voiceless||268|
|The Emotional Truth of Rap||275|
|The Star of Hope||283|
|No, this Map is not Upside Down||291|
|Words that Liberate the Future||294|