House of Abbé Grégoire in Emberménil (Meurthe-et-Moselle)
“There is still an aristocracy, that of the colour of the skin. Bigger than your predecessors, who have, so to speak, founded it, you will make it disappear".
Harangue of Grégoire at the National Convention on 17 June 1793.
Museographical house of Abbé Grégoire
The museographical house inaugurated in 1994 in Emberménil pays homage to the Abbé Grégoire who led the fight for the abolition of slavery, torn off at the National Convention in 1794 and rose against his recovery in 1802, supported Toussaint Louverture and the young Republic of Haiti, being successively opposed to Napoleon and the Bourbons of the Restauration. The ashes of the man who was called “the friend of the blacks” were transferred to the Pantheon in 1989.
He was one of the craftsmen of the rallying of the Clergy to the Third Estate, was present at the Tennis Court Oath, chaired the National Assembly at the time of the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789. He is the author of the decree, which shortly after the victory of Valmy abolished the Royalty and one of the founders of the First Republic. President of the National Convention, he sat in the Five Hundred and then was senator under the Consulate and the Empire. He voted against the establishment of the Empire in 1804 and wrote the text of forfeiture of the Emperor in 1814. Hated by Napoleon and by the Bourbons, the latters relieved him from all his duties.
Throughout his life, he displayed his religious convictions. Beginning as Priest of Emberménil, he was elected bishop of Blois and voted the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. Bonaparte cancelled the title of cardinal, which the pope had granted to him. Grégoire fought for the freedom of worship, the separation of Church and State acquired in France in 1905 or the abandonment of the Mass in Latin, as the Second Vatican Council resumed in 1962.
His fight was first for the Jews. As early as 1788, in his Essai sur la régénération des juifs, he pleaded for their integration and the equality of treatment. He first introduced a representation of the Jews in the National Assembly, demanding equal rights and which was definitively consecrated to them in 1791, the Jewish community becoming a full member of the Nation.
But his longest fight was for black people: in 1789, Grégoire was a member of the “Society of the Friends of the Blacks” of which he became President. He got the government premiums removed for the slave trade and on 4 February 1794, he obtained at the National Convention the abolition of slavery.
Pleading for the integration of blacks in the Republic, he vigorously opposed the Leclerc expedition in 1801 and was one of the few to vote against the reinstatement of slavery in May 1802.
In 1994, on the occasion of the Bicentenary of the first abolition of slavery, the municipality of Emberménil and the Grégoire Committee inaugurated the museographical house Abbé Grégoire.