Poet and politician Aimï¿½ Cï¿½saire was born in Basse-Pointe, Martinique on June 26, 1913. He attended high school and college in France. While in Paris, he helped found the journal Black Student in the 1930s. During World War II, he returned to Martinique and was mayor of Fort-de-France from 1945 to 2001, except for a break from 1983 to 1984. He also served in France's National Assembly from 1946 to 1956 and from 1958 to 1993. In 1946, he helped Martinique shed its colonial status and become an overseas department of France. Some of his best known works include the book Discourse on Colonialism, the essay Negro I Am, Negro I Will Remain, and the poem Notes from a Return to the Native Land. He was being treated for heart problems and other ailments when he died on April 17, 2008.
AIME CESAIRE (1913-2008) was best known as the cocreator of the concept of negritude. CLAYTON ESHLEMAN is a professor emeritus at Eastern Michigan University and the foremost American translator of Aime Cesaire. He is the author of The Grindstone of Rapport / A Clayton Eshleman Reader and translator of The Complete Poetry of Cesar Vallejo. A. JAMES ARNOLD is an emeritus professor of French at the University of Virginia. He is the lead editor of Cesaire's complete literary works in French (in progress) and author of Modernism and Negritude: The Poetry and Poetics of Aime Cesaire. HENRY LOUIS GATES JR. is an American literary critic, educator, scholar, writer, editor, and public intellectual; he is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University.