April 07, 2006 10:30 ET

The Ville de Montreal Honours the Memory of Marie-Josephe Angelique

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - April 7, 2006) - Montreal Mayor, Gerald Tremblay, accompanied by Her Excellency the Governor General of Canada, the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, and the Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities, Lise Theriault, laid a wreath in honour of Marie-Josephe Angelique, a black slave tried, condemned to death and hanged for the Montreal fire of 1734. The ceremony was held at the historic Maison Parent-Roback which bears the plaque commemorating the tragedy.

"Marie-Josephe Angelique was a Montrealer. Her tragic destiny has remained untold for far too long. Today, we must perform our duty to history so that we can continue to make progress, to ensure that each and every citizen of Montreal has the means to flourish in an inclusive, harmonious environment," Mayor Tremblay declared.

"We must make sure that we never forget, that we always remember and continue to teach future generations about this tragedy, the tragedy of how blacks were treated and the slavery they endured. Marie Josephe Angelique, a symbol of those dark years, reminds us of this past and that freedom is never completely attained, it is a right we must be vigilant about protecting," said Minister Theriault.

"There are some 160,000 Montrealers who belong to various black communities in the city. They are a great asset to the metropolis because they play a major role in opening up Montreal to the world, and in enriching its diverse cultural heritage. Every day, Montreal black communities do their part to build the city and enhance its creativity," the Mayor said, adding that an exhibition on Marie-Josephe Angelique will be held this fall at the Centre d'histoire de Montreal.

Marie-Josephe Angelique's story told

The Centre d'histoire de Montreal, in co-operation with the Chateau Ramezay museum and the national archives of Quebec in Montreal, will present the exhibition, Qui a mis le feu a Montreal - 1734 Le Proces d'Angelique (Who set fire to Montreal - 1732, the trial of Angelique), October 12, 2006 through March 25, 2007. Exhibits will highlight many aspects of Montreal life during this period and, for the first time, will recreate the events leading up to the fire as well as the Angelique trial. Museum visitors will be invited to play detective and identify possible suspects in the fire of April 10, 1734.

In addition, as part of this past Black History Month, which ended March 31, 2006, a photography exhibition was organized around the theme of the Marie-Josephe Angelique story.

Parent-Roback house

The Maison Parent-Roback (MPR), now designated a historic landmark, is located near the site of the 45 homes that were burned on April 10, 1734. Founded in 1997, the MPR is a not-for-profit umbrella community organization for 11 women's associations representing 720 regional groups working for the improvement of the condition of women and recognition of their rights.

The Quebec government presented the Parent-Roback house with the commemorative plaque as part of Black History Month celebrations two years ago, in acknowledgement of the United Nations' proclaiming 2004 the International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition.

Mayor Tremblay warmly thanked Her Excellency the Governor General, the Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities of Quebec, the directors of the Maison Parent-Roback as well as the historian Denyse Beaugramp-Champagne for their assistance in organizing this commemorative event. "I encourage all Montrealers, whatever their origin, to strengthen the ties that bring them together to build a common culture, one in which Montrealers of African, Creole and Caribbean origin are full citizens, as Marie-Josephe Angelique would be if she were alive today," he concluded.

Contact Information

  • Source:
    Ville de Montreal
    Cabinet du maire et du comite executif
    Maxime Chagnon
    (514) 872-5527
    Stephanie Jecrois
    Relations avec les medias
    (514) 872-4641