France to observe national day of remembrance for victims of slavery every May 10

France will observe a national day of remembrance for the victims of slavery every May 10, President Jacques Chirac said Monday. The chosen day corresponds to France's May 10, 2001, adoption of a law recognizing slavery as a crime against humanity. Chirac had already announced plans for the annual commemoration but had not yet set a date.

Chirac said that lessons about slavery must be an important part of class curriculums, from grade schools to high schools.

"Racism, wherever it comes from, is a crime of the heart and spirit," Chirac said in a speech. "It degrades, it corrupts, it destroys. Racism is one of the reasons why the memory of slavery is still an open wound for some of our fellow citizens."

Chirac asked writer Edouard Glissant, from the French Caribbean island of Martinique, to preside over a committee to establish a national center on slavery, the slave trade and abolition. "The memory of slavery must be embodied in a public place open to all researchers and the public," Chirac said, reports the AP. I.L.

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