The House of Negritude and Human Rights

Maison de la Négritude et des Droits de l'Homme

The House of Negritude and Human Rights is an original and historical museum which forms a significant part of Champagney’s rich history. 

The museum is a tribute to the “Champagnerots” who asked the French king Louis XVI to abolish slavery of Black people with strong and brave words that were written in their Register of Grievances dated March 19th, 1789. 

Champagney nowadays: 

Champagney is the main town of a federation of towns. It is currently the home of approximately 3,900 people and is crossed by the Rahin river. It is situated at the base of the Vosges Saônoises and halfway between Lure and Belfort. The residents are  known as “Champagnerots”,  who specialise in commerce, tertiary industries and  artisan products. 

A document never seen before 

The name of the museum was the idea of Léopold Senghor, former president of the Republic of Senegal. The museum was created in 1971 by a Champagnerot passionated by local history : René Simonin. The story goes that René Simonin (1911-1980) discovered a document unique in its kind in the Haute-Saône departmental archives. This document was known as the article 29 of the Champagney Register of Grievances in which the people of the time had asked for the abolition of slavery. 

“The inhabitants and community of Champagney cannot think of the ills being suffered by Negroes in the colonies without feeling a stabbing pain in their hearts, at the thought of those like them and still closely joined to them through Religion, being treated even harder than beasts of burden.

They are unable to comprehend that goods from the said colonies can be used, bearing in mind that they have been washed with the blood of those like them: They rightly fear that future generations, more enlightened and more philosophical, will accuse the French of this century of cannibalism, which goes against what it means to be French and, even more, Christian

That is why their religion requires that they appeal very humbly to His Majesty to use the means necessary to make these slaves become useful subjects of both King and Country.”

This article is believed to have been submitted by Jacques-Antoine Priqueler (1753-1802) – bodyguard of King Louis XVI – who was on vacation in Champagney, his home town. René Simonin decided to pay tribute to the inhabitants who wrote this document, by creating the House of Negritude and Human Rights.

The House is all about remembrance and was created around this article 29 of the Champagney Register of Grievances. There, you will find explanations about the context of the writing of this visionary, enlightened and courageous document, the story of  slavery and contemporary forms of slavery. 

You will discover, amongst other things, a reproduction of a slave ship as well as many African and Haitian artifacts illustrating the negritude (or values of the black people society) dear to Léopold Senghor. 

Abolition trail
The House of Negritude and Human Rights is part of the “Abolition trail” which was set up in 2004 and which includes 4 other sites in the East of France: 

- Grégoire’s House in Emberménil (54) 

- Schoelcher in Fessenheim (68) 

- Toussaint Louverture’s in Joux fort 

- Anne-Marie Javouhey’s house in Chamblanc (21) 

For more information : (website in French only) 

Plan your visit 
Self-guided visit or guided tour (in French only) 
Guide book in French, English, German and Spanish

Exhibitions and events

Exhibition on blacks' slavery

Permanent exhibition

In 1789, the inhabitants of Champagney asked to the King Louis XVI the end of blacks'slavery in their register of Grievances. the museum evokes this slavery, the slave trade and the new forms of...

Educational programs

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