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BLACK PANTHERS

July 28, 1968 - Oakland, California, USA:

It was on October, 15th 1966 in Oakland, California, that a revolution was born. 

In a context of radicalization of the black movement in the United States, two activists, Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton decided to found the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. 

Their mission? To denounce police violence in California and write a program regarding multiple social issues affecting African-Americans.

The year 1965 was a particularly violent year for the African-American community: the assassination of Malcolm X, the Selma march, multiple riots, etc. Following this and in a more than electric climate, Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton created the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, known as the Black Panthers. Alongside the non-violent approach initiated by Pastor Martin Luther King, the Black Panthers assert themselves as supporters of a revolution and a less conciliatory approach.

Today, 54 years after the creation of the BP, we celebrate and continue the fight. Freedom, the end of police violence too often trivialized, education for all, respect and many other symbols are still ingrained in people’s minds.

THE STONO REBELLION

It all began on September 6th, 1739, when slaves of the South Carolina Colony decided to claim for their freedom with a rebellion. Although some of them did not survive, thanks to this battle, some were able to escape. 

On September 9th, 1739, twenty African-Americans gathered near the Stono River (symbolic name of the rebellion), about 20 miles southwest of Charleston. They walked along the river, proudly waving a banner with the word “Freedom! ” written and singing it in unison.

Upon arriving at the Stono Bridge, they grabbed weapons and ammunition in a store, killing the two employees. Then, they headed south to Spanish Florida, which was a refuge for runaway slaves at the time. Along the way, new slaves joined them, bringing together eighty people eager for freedom. 

After burning down seven plantations and killing twenty white men, they were hunted down by a militia formed by William Bull (governor of South Carolina) and four of his friends, gathering plantation owners.

The following day, the group of eighty slaves was caught by the militia and a battle broke out, killing twenty whites and forty-four slaves.  The remaining slaves were captured and beheaded, and their heads were displayed along the road to Charlestown.

Stono’s revolt will serve as an example for many revolts in the different colonies of the United States. 

It is now considered as the first and largest slave revolt in a British colony before the American Revolution.

 

CLAUDETTE COLVIN

It was on March 2nd 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, that Claudette Colvin “stood up and spoke” while remaining seated. At only 15 years old, this teenager refused to give up her seat to a white woman on a bus.

Nine months before Rosa Parks’ action, icon of the fight against racial segregation, Claudette Colvin was already taking a stand for her rights and those of all African-Americans. Today, at the age of 80, Claudette Colvin continues her fight by sharing her story. In March 2020, she was invited to the Embrace Ambition Summit organized by the Tory Burch Foundation in New York City.

Find her interview with Michele Norris here.

QUEEN ABLA POKOU

Born in the early 18th century, Abla Pokou is the niece of King Ossei Tutu, founder of the Ashanti Confederacy of Ghana. Upon the death of her uncle, a fratricidal war broke out in the country for her succession to the throne. Abla Pokou feels in danger and flees with her family, her servants and her loyal soldiers.

Legend has it that she and her people find themselves blocked by the majestic river Comoé. The queen then asked the river spirit how she could pass and save her people to get to the other bank. The spirit of the river demanded the sacrifice of the people’s dearest treasure. Abla Pokou and her followers then understood that only the sacrifice of a child would allow them to pass.

Queen Abla Pokou then sacrificed her only child for the survival of her people and they succeeded in crossing La Comoé. After the crossing, the queen turned around and said “Bâ wouli” which means “the child is dead” and will give the name to her people, the Baoulé people.

French Deal pays homage in its creations to the Baule people and to Queen Abla Pokou who, through her act of bravery, managed to save her people and offer them a better life.
The Queen Pokou jacket, made entirely of traditional Baoule loincloth, is a tribute to the Baoule ethnic group and its history.

Shop Queen Pokou here.

 

 

The Baoule loincloth

For its latest collection Volume 4, French Deal honours the African roots of its creator Steeven Kodjia. The Volume 4 collection is then in the heart of Africa and more precisely of Côte d’Ivoire from where the inspiration of the artistic director is taken.
Steeven Kodjia combines tradition and contemporary wardrobe with the use of the Baoulé loincloth, a traditional Ivorian outfit.

The Baoule loincloth is a traditional fabric from the Ashanti kingdom.
Authentic African textile culture, the weaving of the Baoulé loincloth is meticulously carried out by weaver artisans. Declined in blue and red for Volume 4, it embodies the fabric and the key colors of the collection.

For Volume 4, French Deal has decided to reinvent the traditional loincloth by integrating it into an urban and modern wardrobe. It comes to life on timeless pieces that blend with both African and French cultures.

Shop Volume 4 now.
Discover fashion film.

 

BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Frederick Douglass born slave in 1818, will hide in order to learn to read. He will build a social and political awareness that will help him fight for his condition.

At the age of 20, he manages to escape and join the abolitionist movement. People were fascinated by his talent as an orator in meetings and by his autobiographical stories (3 in total, between 1845 and 1892) which became real bestsellers.

In 1863, after the abolition of slavery in the United States by Abraham Lincoln, he holds important political positions for the adoption of Resolutions 13, 14 and 15 of the American Constitution.

He stays today the pioneer of black activism and the great partisan of the slavery abatement. We owe him the celebration of “Black History Month”