BORDEAUX, France – At the bend of a river, a succession of majestic stone buildings, the most imposing one than the other, stretches along the left bank. Their elegant façades of the Eighteenth century had helped Bordeaux, already famous for its wine cellars, to become a world heritage site by UNESCO.
“This facade, it is a monumental heritage and an extraordinary – and a kind of metaphor stage “, explained Laurent Védrine, director of the Museum of Aquitaine. “Let’s see behind the facade stone: where does this wealth? “
Bordeaux, in contrast to a great part of France, began to dig this question there for more than a decade. It found that its major buildings were financed, in part, by the slave trade. Slavery has affected its monuments and architecture. The city has therefore begun to address the past, but instead of destroying the evidence of his horrible history, she put plates to recognize it and explain it.
Other european cities with similar stories have preferred to remain silent. But the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis has now expanded and reinvigorated the debate about the long, brutal, and lucrative history of Europe in Africa, punctuated by the recent reversal of statues of characters from the colonial era.