Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What do you know about the African American Diaspora in Paris?

While planning my trip to Paris I contacted Monique Wells, who co owns a tour company called Discover Paris (which specializes in Black Paris tours) and writes a blog called Entree to Black Paris. I had already made my arrangements for my walking tour but had a delightful email dialog with Monique.

Today I received an email from the African Diaspora Tourism (check them out. I found a lot of helpful information on the site). I was reading through the articles and came across an article about Monique, which I thought I would post here.

Photo: African Diaspora Tourism
When researching burial sites of African –Americans in Paris, Dr. Monique Wells found that one of America’s finest 20th century painters had been laid to rest in an unmarked grave.  It was then that she began a mission to honor Beauford Delaney, a figurative and abstract expressionist painter from Knoxville, Tennessee who moved to Paris in 1953. She felt that the least she could do for this well-loved and respected artist was to help keep his remains interred in a descent gravesite. She went on to raise money for a tombstone and later found Les Amis de Beauford Delaney, a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping the legacy of Delaney alive, where she serves as chairman.
 A culture enthusiast in her own right, this act sums up what Dr. Wells is all about. Before taking on the Delaney project, Dr. Wells had already made it her mission to preserve, protect and promote culture and heritage in Paris. Her specialty is the culture and heritage of people of African descent in Paris. Co-owner of Discover Paris!, she has created Afro-centric itineraries, self-guided African-American history walking tours, a comprehensive Black Paris bus tour, and African-American-hosted culinary activities for those wanting an in-depth travel experience in the City of Light. This unique travel-planning service has provided services tailored for the African-American traveler to Paris since 1999. This year Discover Paris! provided two walks for the U.S. Embassy in Paris– one for Black History Month and one for Women’s History Month.  read more

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