Il faut se souvenir, We must not forget: Memorializing Slavery in Detroit and Martinique

Rachel Willis

BA ’19

Il faut se souvenir, We Must Not Forget: Memorializing slavery in Detroit and Martinique” is a photo exhibit and research project that aims to expand public knowledge about slavery in Detroit and its connection to the broader context of the French Caribbean slave trade and indigenous slavery in North America. The central narrative linking Detroit and Martinique in this exhibit is the story of five members of the Fox community who were captured at Fort Detroit and sold to Martinique as slaves in the early 1730s. I will be travelling to Martinique later this year, where I will search local archives for information regarding the fate of these five men, and photograph sites in Martinique that are dedicated to memorializing the islands’ enslaved and indigenous populations. I hope to display these photos side-by-side with photographs of sites that are linked to the history of slavery in Detroit, with the ultimate goal of igniting conversations around what we choose to memorialize and how, which is of particular relevance in a city that champions itself as a stop on the Underground Railroad.  This exhibit will be showcased at a venue in Detroit during the week of Juneteenth 2019.

Library Mentor: Jamie Vander Broek