France’s armed forces ministry has provided local authorities with a guide to 100 Africans who fought for France in World War Two, so that streets and squares may be named after them. France’s reappraisal of its colonial past is fuelled by the global anti-racism protests and Black Lives Matter.
More than 400,000 Africans in the Free French Forces took part in the Allies’ landings in the south of France in August 1944, codenamed Operation Dragoon. They were involved in heavy fighting to liberate Toulon and Marseille. About 400,000 came from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, and more than 70,000 from Senegal and other sub-Saharan colonies.
French Junior Defence Minister Geneviève Darrieussecq, presenting the 210-page booklet, said “the names, faces, lives of these African heroes must become part of our lives as free citizens, because without them we would not be free”.