Tribute Frantz Fanon Poster
Tribute Frantz Fanon Poster
All TANO Design posters are printed on high-gloss satin finish 10 mil paper.
Frantz Fanon (July 20, 1925 – December 6, 1961) was a psychiatrist, philosopher, revolutionary, and author from Martinique. He was influential in the field of post-colonial studies and was perhaps the pre-eminent thinker of the 20th century on the issue of decolonization and the psychopathology of colonization. His works have inspired anti-colonial liberation movements for more than four decades.
Frantz Fanon was born on the Caribbean island of Martinique, which was then a French colony and is now a French departement. He was born into a mixed family background: his father was the descendant of African slaves, and his mother was said to be an illegitimate child of mixed race, whose white ancestors came from Strasbourg in Alsace. Fanon's family was socioeconomically middle-class, and they could afford the fees for the Lycée Schoelcher, then the most prestigious high school in Martinique, where famed poet Aimé Césaire was one of his teachers.
After France fell to the Nazis in 1940, Vichy French naval troops were blockaded on Martinique. Many accusations of harassment and sexual misconduct arose. The abuse of the Martiniquan people by the French Army was a major influence on Fanon, as it reinforced his feelings of alienation and his disgust at the realities of colonial racism. At the age of eighteen, Fanon fled the island as a "dissident" (the coined word for French West Indians joining the gaullist forces) and traveled to then-British colony Dominica to join the Free French Forces. He later enlisted in the French army and joined an Allied convoy that arrived in Casablanca. He was later transferred to an army base at Bejaia on the Kabyle coast of Algeria. Fanon left Algeria from Oran and saw service in France, notably in the battles of Alsace. In 1944 he was wounded at Colmar and received the Croix de Guerre medal. When the Nazis were defeated and Allied forces crossed the Rhine into Germany, along with photo journalists, Fanon's regiment was "bleached" of all non-white soldiers and Fanon and his fellow Caribbean soldiers were sent to Toulon (Provence) instead. Later, they were transferred to Normandy to await repatriation home.
In 1945 Fanon returned to Martinique. His return lasted only a short time. While there, he worked for the parliamentary campaign of his friend and mentor Aimé Césaire, who would be the greatest influence in his life. Although Fanon never professed to be a communist, Césaire ran on the communist ticket as a parliamentary delegate from Martinique to the first National Assembly of the Fourth Republic. Fanon stayed long enough to complete his Baccalaureate and then went to France where he studied medicine and psychiatry. He was educated in Lyon where he also studied literature, drama and philosophy, sometimes attending Merleau-Ponty's lectures. During this period he wrote three plays, whose manuscripts are now lost. After qualifying as a psychiatrist in 1951, Fanon did a residency in psychiatry at Saint-Alban under the radical Catalan psychiatrist Francois Tosquelles, who invigorated Fanon's thinking by emphasizing the important yet often overlooked role of culture in psychopathology. After his residency, Fanon practiced psychiatry at Pontorson, near Mont St Michel, for another year and then (from 1953) in Algeria. He was chef de service at the Blida-Joinville Psychiatric Hospital in Algeria, where he stayed until his deportation in January 1957.
His service in France's army (and his experiences in Martinique) fueled Black Skin, White Masks. For Fanon, being colonized by a language had larger implications for one's political consciousness: "To speak . . . means above all to assume a culture, to support the weight of a civilization" (BSWM 17-18). Speaking French means that one accepts, or is coerced into accepting, the collective consciousness of the French.