In June, six members of the Toni Morrison Society traveled to Martinique to be part of the delegation attending activities in Martinique held June 23-28 in celebration of the 100th Birthday of Aimé Césaire, poet, anti-colonialist, architect of the Negritude Movement, beloved leader in Martinique, and mayor of Fort-de-France for 56 years. Society members were there specifically to participate in a scholarly symposium hosted by the Toni Morrison Society and place a Bench by the Road in Honor of Aime Cesaire.
The delegation included Carolyn Denard, Don Denard, Pat Chandler Smith, Gretchen Smith, La Vinia Jennings, and Kokahvah Zauditu-Selassie. Hosted by the Mayor of Fort-de- France Monsieur Raymond Saint-Louis Augustin and the Director of the Martinique Promotions Bureau Muriel Wiltord, Society members enjoyed a memorable week that included attending a five-day scholarly conference in honor of Aimé Césaire, the 100th Birthday Celebration, and tours of historical sites in Martinique, including slave memorials in Trois Islets and Diamant, the Hotel de Ville and the Aimé Césaire Theatre in Fort-de-France, and Césaire's birthplace in Basse-Pointe. On Wednesday morning, Kokahvah Zauditu-Selassie, La Vinia Jennings, and Carolyn Denard participated in a scholarly panel on "Aimé Césaire, Toni Morrison, and the African Diaspora" at the Aimé Césaire Theatre. On Wednesday afternoon, the 10th Bench by the Road was dedicated in honor of Cesaire in the Aimé Césaire Garden. Toni Morrison sent an audio greeting that paid tribute to Aimé Césaire and congratulated the people of Martinique on their grand celebration of his life. The bench dedication ceremony was attended by hundreds of people from Martinique, government dignitaries, and Aimé Césaire's family.