A School for Children of Color from the Colonies
The Republic has a short memory when it comes to the colonies. Who remembers that here, on the premises of the former Collège de la Marche, demolished during the Second Empire, the sons of the mixed-race deputy Jean-Baptiste Belley, and the son of the late free person of color Toussaint Louverture, rubbed shoulders with the son of Jacques-Pierre Brissot? First providing free public classes, the school was transformed in 1797 into the National Institution for the Colonies. “It is important to give colonists guarantees of national benevolence,” Roume, one of the Directory’s agents in Saint-Domingue, stated. In the summer of 1799, 20 young Creole students studied here at the government’s expense in the hopes of civilizing them through their contact with the best minds from mainland France. The experience would end in 1802, the year slavery was reinstituted in the colonies by Bonaparte, the future Napoleon I.
19 rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève