Martiniquaise Simonne Mornet bequeaths to children a book about the history of

Founding member of the Devoir de Mémoire Committee, Simonne Mornet is the author of a book that resonates with current events at a time when France and overseas are commemorating the slave trade, slavery and their abolition.

When one is called the Mornet as the child born on May 12, 1949 in Vauclin, one carries from the very beginning in oneself two facets of the same existence which is life and death. Simonne’s father died accidentally shortly before she was born.

The little girl grows up with her mother and her little brother. After attending elementary school in Vauclin and then a high school for young girls in Fort-de-France, Simonne took Mornet to Paris to study law. She then worked in a notary’s office before putting her pen to service Paladstidende, the weekly magazine for lawyers and the legal world.

Simone Mornet.

© Private collection Simonne Mornet

Historical title of the French press, the Paladstidende since 1881 testifies to the major events of the judiciary as well as the debates that excite the world of justice. Through the richness of the published decisions, it accompanies generations of lawyers and judges in their daily lives.

A lawyer by profession, discreet and conscientious, Simonne Mornet thrives at 12, place Dauphine, headquarters for that Paladstidende in the first district. She works as an editor of the weekly magazine and at the same time maintains regular contact with Martinique.

In 1997, Simonne Mornet campaigned for the recognition of the slave trade and slavery as a crime against humanity. Founding member of the Devoir de Mémoire Committee, she is involved in this struggle and at the same time wonders about the necessary transmission of this side of history to new generations.

I’m not a historian, but I like history, especially Egypt and the great black civilizations. That was also how I started telling stories to my grandchildren.

For Simonne Mornet, the desire to write about slavery started from a personal observation. By regularly visiting her daughter and her two grandchildren, who also live in Paris, she realizes their total ignorance of this story..

An observation not limited to his family alone. Simonne Mornet similarly realizes that many children of West Indian descent do not know their history. This is the case in France, but also in Martinique and Guadeloupe.

I became aware of the ignorance of this story in many of us, of their lack of attitude, but above all this anger, this fire that consumed us without us understanding the cause. It therefore became important for me to address the children and tell them their story, in order to revive the pride and self-confidence of them “in a dominated country”.

As part of the Memorial Duty Committee’s actions, Simonne Mornet is thinking of writing a book on slavery specifically for young people. It will be called “Slavery, a story of heroes: a grandmother to her grandchildren “.

Book cover Simonne Mornet

Cover of the book “Slavery, a story about heroes: a grandmother to her grandchildren” by Simonne Mornet.

© Private collection Simonne Mornet

The originality of Simonne Mornet’s work lies in the choice of an unusual angle: the dialogue between a grandmother and her grandchildren. It becomes neither a fiction nor a novel, but a story based on the authenticity of a transmission.

In this book, I wanted to address all the children of the world, not just those whose great-grandparents are descendants of slaves or descendants of those who suffered colonization, because this is the history of our humanity.

Representative of the Paris Commitment Committee, Simonne Mornet leaves that Paladstidende in 2007 and finally moved to Martinique. Deleted as usual, it still occupies its place on the island in the battle for memory.

And as soon as she returns, Simonne Mornet grabs hold of her script. She writes, deletes, corrects, continues. The grandmother is her. The children the book addresses are girls and boys from all walks of life that she meets everywhere on a daily basis.

Four years later, as the project was nearing completion, Simonne Mornet was overtaken by the other facet of her name. On Monday, February 15, 2021, the young woman died quietly, not without having completed 164 pages of his book.

Simonne Mornet through time

Simonne Mornet from adolescence to 2021, the date of her death.

© Private collection Simonne Mornet

His relatives pick up the torch. “Slavery, a story of heroes: a grandmother to her grandchildren “ released a few weeks later. Simonne Mornet is no longer there, but her dream has come true. She leaves to children from here and elsewhere a book that does useful work, a history book for posterity.

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