Haven Blackmon: Over Under Paris 2019

Paris Metro Line 4

Introduction

Over the course of one month, I have experienced more of Paris than of Miami, a city in which I have lived for almost a year. I have visited more museums and monuments here than I have in my lifetime in the United States. The accessible public transportation in Paris has allowed me to conveniently access many of Paris’s most historic buildings. Metro Line 4 runs through central Paris from north to south. The northernmost stop is Porte de Clignancourt, and the southernmost stop is Mairie de Montrouge. I will explore several stops along Metro Line 4, starting with its central stop, Chatelet, and expanding outwards both ways. 

Stop 1: Chatelet- Les Halles


Photos by Haven Blackmon

Chatelet- Les Halles is the largest underground station in the world, with an average of 750,000 people passing through this station each day. It is the central stop of Paris, and given its size, a newcomer may be easily overwhelmed. With so many possible directions to roam, walking up to find an expansive, all-encompassing shopping mall, Le Forum des Halles, is captivating. Le Forum des Halles is an underground mall that was built in 1979 to replace the overpopulated market, Halles Centrales, that stood before it. The construction of the mall was controversial, as it destroyed the long history of the market there, and its modern glass architecture is juxtaposed to the historic buildings surrounding it. The market at Les Halles had existed and grown over centuries: in fact, the market originated in the 12th century, and its last expansion in the 1800s required that the remains in the Cimetiere des Innocents be excavated and moved to the Catacombs of Paris. Understandably, the destruction of centuries of history for the development of a modern mall was met with plenty of backlash. 

In addition, another grand modern construction lies in Chatelet- Centre Pompidou. The creation of the Centre Pompidou was announced by President Georges Pompidou in 1969 to become a cultural center for art and reading. Interestingly, an open contest was held for architects to design this cultural center, and after choosing three architects, none French, the center opened to the public in February 1977. The center showcases modern art, from 1900 to today, and a large portion of the building is a multi-level public library.

The community around Chatelet is incredibly diverse, home to both the Jewish quarter and the gay district. The Jewish population of Paris had established a community in this area in the thirteenth century. However, Jewish people in France still faced hardships under the monarchy, which did not resolve until the French Revolution. The establishment of the gay district is much more recent. While small gay communities have gathered in numerous areas in Paris, the gay district in Chatelet is said to have began emerging around the mid-1800s. 

Stop 2: Cite


Photos by Haven Blackmon

While Chatelet-Les Halles is the central metro stop in Paris, Ile de la Cite is the true center of Paris. This island is the most historic part of Paris, as it was home to Gauls before Roman conquest. After the Roman conquest, Cite, then known as Lutetia, became the Roman administrative center of the area. Two notable locations in Cite are, of course, Notre Dame, and Place Dauphin. As old as Ile de la Cite is, Paris is always evolving and these locations show the progression of the center of Paris through history.

The construction of Notre Dame officially began in 1163, yet took two centuries to complete. Because of this, multiple architects were tasked in its creation, and notable features of the cathedral are attributed to each one of them: rib vaults were brought about by an unknown architect, rose windows were implemented by Pierre de Montreuil, and flying buttresses were put in place by Jean Ravy. While much restoration has been done to preserve this historic masterpiece, it is still much older than this next location, Place Dauphin. 

Place Dauphin, although not a building, was built in 1607, and remains much as it was in the 17th century. The triangular shaped park and surrounding buildings were ordered to be built by Henry IV and named after his son. The layout of this park and surrounding buildings are said to be the same as when they were created in the 1600s. This creates an interesting dynamic where the building several centuries older is in some ways newer due to restoration, whereas a relatively new (by Ile de la Cite standards) place is still frozen in time for the opposite reason. 

Stop 3: Denfert-Rochereau 


Photos by Haven Blackmon

Denfert-Rochereau is home to the Catacombs of Paris, a portion of the underground tunnels of Paris built up with human remains. The removal of remains from cemeteries began in 1785 to relocate them to these underground tunnels because cemeteries in Paris were overcrowded and the placement of remains was becoming unsanitary. The first cemetery to be emptied was the Saints-Innocents cemetery, followed by others for decades. The Catacombs then first opened to the public in 1809; however, more remains would be added in 1859 and 1860, which ended the addition of remains. Now, the skeletons of over six million Parisians are set in the Catacombs. Charles Axel Guillaumot was in charge of organizing the transfer and resetting of bones, which consisted of joining like body parts together- that is, stacking femurs on femurs, vertebrae on vertebrae, and placing skulls side by side so that all the remains could fit in designated areas. At first, this segmentation and arrangement of bodies seemed disrespectful and perverse, but later I realized that this was a necessary action to take to solve cemetery overcrowding. Additionally, many, if not most, of these remains were of those whom had already been dead for centuries. Eventually, the design and organization of bones became fascinating to me as I realized that the structure was meant to maximize space. 

Stop 4: Gare du Nord

In northern Paris, Gare du Nord is the busiest train station in Europe. Around 190,000,000 people arrive at the station every year, which makes it the third largest in the world. Gare du Nord train station was first opened in 1846, but had to be rebuilt less than two decades later in 1860 because of its overflowing capacity. During its second construction, it was reopened in 1864 with the design of architect Jacques Ignace Hittorff. The station expanded once again in 1884 to accommodate more traffic. This was not the last time expansion occurred for the train station as Eurostar trains were incorporated in 1994. The station now has arriving trains from the U.K., Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. Once outside of the station, a particularly jarring sight can be seen- Maison Fond. Maison Fond is a sculpture created by Leandro Elrich which depicts a melting house at an angle. This sculpture was the first thing that caught my attention outside of the station. My most memorable experience from Gare du Nord station was of speaking with a young French woman about her own experiences studying abroad, and the stark differences between the price of education in France compared to the U.S. She emphasized that her bachelor’s degree is cost-free, and of the study abroad programs she was considering in several different countries, a program offered in North Carolina was the most expensive. As many times as I could hear about publicly funded college education, I did not fully register how the U.S. is an outlier until listening to her experience.

Stop 5: Saint Germain des-Pres 


Photo by Haven Blackmon

The most well-known historic site near Saint Germain des-Prés station is the Louvre, which was originally a fortress in 12th century France. Parts of the original fortress can still be seen today in the museum. Centuries later, it was adapted to be a royal palace, and was expanded to today’s over 600,000 square feet. With the turn of the French Revolution, it became a museum in 1793, and now shows tens of thousands of artworks. I believe the most interesting aspect of the building itself is the combination of Renaissance architecture with its new modern pyramid design. While the Louvre as we see it is a 17th century structure, the iconic modern pyramid has only been in existence since 1993. I believe it was incredibly bold to add a modern structure in the very center of a museum which, at its very foundation, is nearly 1,000 years old. Of course, that is not what is visible to us, but the execution was widely controversial.

Stop 6: Porte de Clignancourt


Photos by Haven Blackmon

Near the northernmost line 4 stop of Porte de Clignancourt, is the village of Montmartre, which lies on top of a hill in northern Paris. At the very top of the hill lies the Sacre-Coeur Basilica, built in the late 1800s, which is the highest point in Paris. The basilica contains the largest mosaic in France, and is one of the largest in the world. The mosaic depicts Jesus surrounded by various saints and architecture. It is also in this village that some of the greatest European artists have lived and worked. Picasso, Manet, and Vincent Van Gogh were among the few who lived and worked here. Today, artists display and sell their own original works on the streets of Montmartre. It was also here that the bishop Saint Denis was decapitated and survived, carrying his own head for two miles while reciting psalms before his death, where the Saint Denis Basilica now stands. 

Reflection

The long history of Paris is not something that can be found anywhere in the United States. While the oldest structures man-made structures in the U.S. date back a mere few centuries, some remaining historical sites in Paris date back almost a millennium. After a month of becoming intimately familiar with the city of Paris, I have learned more about it than the city which I am from. Becoming so familiar with a city I am only visiting leaves me with the desire to discover more of my hometown, and appreciate what there is to learn. Simultaneously, the United States as a nation and my hometown are only recent history, so I cannot expect that there is as much to learn about a relatively new city as there is to learn about a city that has existed since BCE. Paris has taught me so much about European history and given me a newfound desire to learn about my own. My foundation here has given me a lens which I can look through to better understand my home.

Works Cited:

“The Apse Mosaic.” Basilique Du Sacre Coeur De Montmartre, Basilique Du Sacre-Coeur , www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com/english/history-and-visit/article/the-apse-mosaic.

“Basilica De Sacre Coeur, Paris Visitors Guide.” France This Way, www.francethisway.com/paris/basilica-de-sacre-coeur.php.

“Châtelet-Les-Halles Station.” Metro.Paris, RATP, metro.paris/en/place/chatelet-les-halles-station.

Cuttle, Jade. “How the LGBT Community Has Shaped Paris’s Bohemian Reputation.” Culture Trip, The Culture Trip, 12 Feb. 2019, theculturetrip.com/europe/france/paris/articles/how-the-lgbt-community-has-shaped-pariss-bohemian-reputation/.

Fuentes, Jose Luís Corral. “An 800-Year History of Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral.” National Geographic, National Geographic Society, 18 Apr. 2019, www.nationalgeographic.com/archaeology-and-history/magazine/2017/05-06/notre-dame-de-paris/.

“Gare Du Nord Train Station in Paris.” EUtouring.com, www.eutouring.com/gare_du_nord_train_station.html.

“Gare Du Nord, Paris.” Railway Technology, Verdict Media Limited, www.railway-technology.com/projects/garedunord/.

Geiling, Natasha. “Beneath Paris’ City Streets, There’s an Empire of Death Waiting for Tourists.” Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Institution, 28 Mar. 2014, www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/paris-catacombs-180950160/.

“History of Place Dauphine in Paris.” Paris Perfect, Paris Perfect, www.parisperfect.com/25-place-dauphine/history-of-place-dauphine-paris.php.

“The History.” Centre Pompidou, www.centrepompidou.fr/en/The-Centre-Pompidou/The-history.

“Ile De La Cite in Paris Historical Heart.” Travel France Online, Travel France Online, 16 Apr. 2019, www.travelfranceonline.com/ile-de-la-cite-paris-in-historical-heart/.

Kamins , Toni L. “Jewish Quarter.” PARISMARAIS, Parismarais, www.parismarais.com/en/discover-the-marais/history-of-the-marais/jewish-quarter.html.

Langham, A. “The Legend of Saint-Denis and an Early History of the Basilica.” The Legend of Saint-Denis, ac.aup.edu/~ggilbert/contentpages/stdenislegend.html.

“Les Halles – Historical District – Paris.” Travel France Online, Travel France Online, 14 Feb. 2019, www.travelfranceonline.com/les-halles-historical-district-paris/.

“Montmartre, an Authentic Village in the Heart of Paris – Paris Tourist Office.” En.parisinfo.com, Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau, en.parisinfo.com/discovering-paris/walks-in-paris/montmartre-village-in-paris.

“Site History.” Les Catacombes De Paris, 2018, catacombes.paris.fr/en/history/site-history.

Szalay, Jessie. “The Louvre Museum: Facts, Paintings & Tickets.” Live Science, 2 May 2018, www.google.com/amp/s/amp.livescience.com/31935-louvre-museum.html.

Haven Blackmon: France as Text 2019

Welcome to the manifestation of my journey studying abroad in France! My name is Haven Blackmon, and I am originally from Orlando, Florida, and moved to Miami to earn my B.A. in psychology, minoring in biology at FIU. I am interested in studying molecular biology and genetics, focusing on the genetic factors of neurological cancers and neurodegenerative diseases. However, having an interdisciplinary education which explores the relationship between different subjects is my utmost priority.

Paris as Text

Photo by Haven Blackmon

The United States and France share many commonalities; however, there are stark differences between the two. The American Revolution and French Revolution occurred closely together, and aimed to achieve the same principles of democracy and universal human rights. In these centuries following the revolutions, the implementation of these principles into the fabric of society have manifested in different ways and at different speeds. One principle emerging in the last century throughout the developed world, environmental protection and conservation, has been approached quite differently in the U.S. and in France. In the U.S., commodities such as fast food and single-use plastics have been readily embraced. Interestingly, the long-standing tradition of fresh, market-bought food has largely prevented the proliferation of these products. In the markets of Paris, paper bags are standard, plastic utensils are provided sparingly or at cost, and straws are rarely used. With the Western world focused on faster food, faster deliveries, and faster results, old habits seen in the heart of Paris have largely protected it from the modern problem of plastic pollution, seen overwhelmingly in the U.S. In addition, sodas are almost exclusively sold in cans, and water is more sparingly used in toilets and water fountains. Outside of Paris, wind turbines are generating renewable energy in large fields. While modernization has provided for increased productivity and wealth, the carelessness with which society has approached it is quickly creating new and urgent problems to solve. In cases like the markets of Paris, adherence to old habits and traditions has lessened the burden of plastic pollution in this corner of the world.

Versailles as Text

Photo by Haven Blackmon

The Palace of Versailles, the largest palace on earth, has solidified Louis XIV one of the most significant spots in European history. While being a king of France ensures your name being documented in some history books, greater achievements are necessary to secure such a prevalent place in world history. Of course, this achievement did not come without the suffering and death of many, but a king must not be so concerned as to relinquish such a coveted place in the minds of people for generations, centuries, and millennia to come. To be remembered for a few decades after your death is much easier than to guarantee that you will be remembered 2,000 years after your death. What better way is there to be remembered for a thousand years than to create the most extravagant palace in history and repeatedly plaster your face onto the god of the sun? Will maintaining peace and feeding your people for a few decades be enough? Surely writing a book or a symphony will not guarantee your long-standing spot in history like creating an extravagant palace that stands for centuries or founding a new nation (like the founding fathers of the United States). Acts such as maintaining peace or writing books are undoubtedly too much of a gamble, and the large risk is simply not worth the uncertain reward.

Lyon as Text

Photo by Haven Blackmon

After visiting Montluc prison, hearing Claude Bloch tell his story of surviving the Holocaust, and seeing World War II artifacts in the Resistance and Deportation History Centre, I realized that my education in the United States had never really taught me what it felt like to live in a time and place where your leaders and your government saw you as nothing more than a pest to be exterminated. I learned that approximately six million Jews were murdered over a time span of six years, and that many of these people were gassed and their bodies burned- but I never learned what it felt like to be imprisoned in a cell of only a few square meters with seven other people for weeks at a time. I never truly understood the details of how every step of the deportation and internment process was intentionally designed to rob all humanity from humans who were the victims of this genocide. It is one thing to be taught and another to truly understand. It is one thing to teach the number of people targeted and murdered, and another to demonstrate to students the reality of being packed into a prison cell. As the memory of the Holocaust fades away with time, I feel it becomes even more necessary to educate youth in a more tangible way than history books. While American students may not be able to visit concentration camps, Holocaust history can still be taught in more tangible ways, including Holocaust museums and classroom demonstrations of food portions in concentration camps and weight loss of those who survived. Ultimately, future generations will prevent this from happening again not by regurgitating textbook facts, but by seeing and understanding that this terrorization of people resulted in the few adult survivors that were rescued weighing nothing more than that of an eleven year old child, and that people are only capable of this magnitude of terror with the complacency and inaction of many.

Izieu as Text

Photo by Haven Blackmon

During World War II, while Jews were being forcefully deported to concentration camps to be murdered, many families made the difficult decision to send their children away to Maison D’Izieu to be cared for and protected from the Nazi regime. When, on April 6, 1944, 44 children were found in the home by the Gestapo and deported to concentration camps, the only reason was for their Jewish heritage. Before the raid, children in this home received education and ample time to express their emotions through art. Those with living parents or other relatives that could be contacted sent letters of longing, affection, and gratitude. This was a temporary home meant to shelter children for no longer than two months while other arrangements were made for their care and protection. While visiting this refuge and learning the history of this home, I was reminded of the U.S.  immigration crisis and children being sheltered in detention facilities. It is certainly not my intention to compare the Holocaust to immigration practices in the U.S.; however, I noticed several similarities and differences between the two. First, none of these children have committed a crime- the only reason for their separation was the circumstances in their lives. Also, most of these children were and are unable to contact their parents, and may not know what has happened to them. The major difference between the two is that the children at Izieu were intentionally sent by parents or other surviving relatives with confidence that they would remain safe from roundups and deportation, meanwhile children in the U.S. have been and are being taken away from their parents unwillingly. In addition, Maison d’Izieu, which was partially aided by the local government, supplied all children with their basic needs- education, food, and hygiene. The U.S., by contrast, has neglected to give basic hygiene products and beds in some cases to children in detention facilities. This begs us to ask one question: If political refugee children in France during WWII had all of their basic needs met in a transition home, what is the justification for the U.S. neglecting to give migrant refugee children soap and toothpaste?

Normandy as Text

Photo by Haven Blackmon

Dear Sgt. John Ray,

I know you cannot read this, but I visited your grave today. I learned all I could about your short but heroic life, and I stood in the very place you were when you saved the lives of your comrades, and death got its first grip on you.

I know that you were born August 15, 1922, and that growing up, you shared a home with three siblings and your parents in Gretna, Louisiana. I know that you played football in high school, and joined the Army on January 9, 1941, before the United States was involved in the war in Europe. 

I know it was devastating for you to leave your family in service of your country and miss your mother’s passing. I’m sure you would have given almost anything to comfort your family in a time of grief. I also know you would have liked to spend more time with your new sister. What an emotional time it must have been to bury your mother, meet your sister, and meet your future wife all in the same weekend.

I know you wished you could have more time to take Paula on a first date, but your letters to her and her mother showed them what a great man you were. Without these letters, much of your memory might be gone today. I want you to know how much Paula cherished those letters. She loved them so much, she kept all 333 letters for over 54 years before she published them. For the many hours it took writing those letters, I know you would have rather spent them with her.

I know you wished you had stayed in school longer, but the world might be much different today if you had. By the time you landed in Sainte-Mere-Eglise, you were a well-seasoned paratrooper. However, I doubt that all the experience in the world could eliminate the fear you must have felt landing in this German-occupied town. At the age of 21, in the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, your landing was almost immediately met with gunfire. Even after a bullet ripped through your abdomen, you acted swiftly and mustered the strength to shoot the German soldier aiming at your comrades above on the roof of the church. Both men on the roof survived the Normandy invasion because of you. A split moment passed, and you became a hero. I am left to wonder what your last days were like, with infection from battle wounds spreading throughout your body. 

When you passed on June 13, 1944, you had made a greater contribution to this world than most ever will. Paula was devastated when she received that impending telegram. Your death, although heroic, was not easy to process. At 21, you lost all possibility of building a career and starting a family. Your young wife became a widow. I cannot help but to theoretically apply the events of your life to mine. Although I plan on entering the military once I finish my education, I most likely will never face an end like yours. However, it is not a probability, but it is a possibility that any one of us could be thrust into a situation in which we choose to become a hero and sacrifice our life for another. I cannot say which I would choose; I’ve never imagined that my greatest contribution to the world would be giving up my life. I have every expectation of creating something or discovering something to leave behind, and the possibility of contributing my life to a cause is unsettling. Regardless of my fate, yours has shown me how meaningful your contribution was, although you left little behind. You, Sgt. Ray, are the reason freedom lives on in this world. Thank you for your service and your sacrifice. There is no way I could possibly repay you for what you’ve given me, but I’ll die trying.

Père Lachaise as Text

Photo by Haven Blackmon

Rene Lalique was born April 6, 1860 in Ay, France, but moved to Paris with his family at the age of two. Growing up, he was known to be a great drawer. His father passed away in 1876 when Rene was 16, and following his death he started an apprenticeship under Louis Aucoc, a renowned jewelry maker at the time. This is where Rene found his craft, learning how to create jewelry with a range of different materials. It was at this time that Rene also began studying at the School of Decorative Arts in Paris. He subsequently traveled to England to study for two years. Upon his return, he began designing jewelry independently. Despite the jewelry style at the time, which was elaborate with precious gems, Rene quickly became popular with his use of unconventional materials, such as enamel and ivory. His jewelry brought a creativity and originality to the industry that became highly coveted, and at the World Exposition of Paris in 1900, his jewelry brought him world fame. But following this event, Rene started experimenting with glassmaking. For several years, he practiced and perfected his craft in glassmaking, and in 1907 met perfumer Francois Coty. Because of Lalique, the perfume industry was changed forever. He began making elaborate glass bottles for perfumes, which had previously been held in plain flasks. Still today, you may observe that almost all perfumes are sold in glass with attractive designs. During his glassmaking career, Lalique also created many other glass products, including vases, ashtrays, car mascots, and brooches, among other things. Many of these original pieces are now sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars, if in good condition. While these original masterpieces are very valuable today, Rene’s success also enabled him to mass-produce glass items when he opened glassmaking factories. During World War I, his factories benefited the war effort by producing many plain glass bottles for storage, typically of medicine and other necessities. Over the course of his glassmaking career, Lalique reportedly created over 1,500 glass designs. He passed away on May 1, 1945 at the age of 85. In his last years, rheumatism unfortunately hindered his ability to work due to chronic pain in his hands. What drew me to study the life of Rene Lalique is my fascination with glass design. I have always particularly enjoyed seeing the creation process and finished products of glass art. What connected me to him personally was the fact that he created not one, but two careers for himself. His creativity and interests provided great variability in his work. I absolutely strive to create a career for myself in which I have variability in my work, and can only hope to be successful in such varied areas as Rene did. While my passion does not lie in art and jewelry-making, I am a science enthusiast who is also very actively involved in social justice issues. While glassmaking band jewelry are much more easily incorporated into each other, I aspire to teach others that science is indeed intimately tied to social justice. Statistics inform us of inequalities present in our society, and all of our revolutionary scientific theories would not come about without diversity and inclusion in the scientific community. Our diversity of background and experiences informs our views, and a multitude of these backgrounds is necessary for the advancement of knowledge.

Jean Moulin by Haven Blackmon

Jean Moulin c. 1937. Photo by public domain

Life of Jean Moulin

Jean Moulin was born June 20, 1899 in the city of Béziers in southern France. His father was a history professor who was actively engaged in political organizations such as the Radical Socialist Party and the League of Rights of Men. Jean was heavily influenced by his father, and they were known to be inseparable in his childhood. After the death of his older brother, Jean’s performance in school declined, and he was a mediocre student. He developed and interest in drawing cartoons, which became quite popular. In 1917, he began studying for a law degree at the Law Institute of Montpellier, but shortly thereafter was drafted into the Army during World War I in 1918. For a short while he was an engineer in the military, but he never engaged in battle and the war ended not long after he was drafted. The most important work Jean did while in the army was his duty to bury soldiers who died in battle. With the help of his father, he was discharged from the army after only one year. 

After leaving the Army, he quickly returned to his studies and graduated with his law degree in 1921. Following his graduation, Jean became a civil servant, and through his hard work eventually earned the title of youngest sub-prefect in France in 1925. He was later promoted to become the youngest prefect in France. Not long thereafter, Jean married Marguerite Cerruti in 1926, but their marriage was short lived and they divorced only two years later. 

As Moulin continued working for the government, he achieved higher titles and took on more administrative responsibilities, and in 1937 became the youngest prefect in France. In February 1939, he transferred to be the prefect at Chartres. However, France soon became involved in WWII and Moulin’s department faced an influx of refugees. He saw firsthand the struggles of the refugees and voiced his sympathy despite the growing hostility of many citizens. During this time, Jean was preparing to resign from his position as prefect in order to join the Air Force. Although he did not meet age and certain physical requirements, Jean was persistent and worked fervently to obtain a position in the military. Unfortunately, Moulin was still denied a position. As the Germans moved into the region in which Moulin served, the French people suffered and died at the hands of Nazis. As this became apparent, German officials blamed these killings on France’s Senegalese soldiers. The Germans tried to force Moulin into signing a document faulting the French soldiers for the murders, but Moulin new it was the fault of the Nazis and refused to sign. Consequently, Jean was captured. Fearing he would be tortured and made to sign the document, he attempted suicide by cutting his throat with glass, but he did not succeed. He was soon found and given medical attention, and he survived the attempted suicide. For the rest of his life following the incident, Jean wore scarves to conceal the scar across his neck.  

Following this incident, Moulin assumed the responsibility of uniting numerous resistance groups against the Germans. By uniting these resistance groups, they joined and he then became the chairman of the National Council of the Resistance. He did this in collaboration with General Charles de Gaulle, who was the leader of Free France at the time. This occurred in May 1943, and the very next month he was captured and imprisoned by the Gestapo. He was brutally tortured by the Gestapo, but refused to share any information. As he was being transported to Germany by train, Jean Moulin died on July 8, 1943. After his death, he was revered as a hero by the French resistance. 

Personal Relevance

In the years leading up to and during World War II, Jean became increasingly more vocal about his political opinions and his opposition to Nazi Germany. Upon German occupation of France, he repeatedly risked his life to resist their regime. The aspect in which I relate most to Jean Moulin is to his personal convictions and the way in which his actions aligned with them. Neither I nor most anyone else can say for certainty whether they would risk their life in such brutal ways to protect those who are innocent and defenseless. However, one thing I consider to be most important to my character and my self-worth is my integrity, and the degree to which I strive to carry out actions that align with my convictions. I make conscious decisions every day to make sure that my actions align with my most core beliefs. Every day is another opportunity be active in creating change to benefit the lives of others, and my activism is a reflection of my most fundamental beliefs that all people should be equal under the law. Jean Moulin embodied these convictions in the most fundamental way, and we can all draw inspiration and courage from his actions.

Sources:

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Jean Moulin.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 4 July 2018, www.britannica.com/biography/Jean-Moulin.

Clinton, Alan. Jean Moulin, 1899-1943 the French Resistance and the Republic. Palgrave, 2002. 

“History – Historic Figures: Jean Moulin (1899 – 1943).” BBC, BBC, www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/moulin_jean.shtml.

“Jean Moulin Biography.” The Famous People, 8 Nov. 2017, www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/jean-moulin-6071.php.

Marnham, Patrick. The Death of Jean Moulin: Biography of a Ghost. John Murray, 2001.

Simkin, John. “Jean Moulin.” Spartacus Educational, Spartacus Educational, Aug. 2014, spartacus-educational.com/2WWmoulin.htm.

Zimmerman, Dwight. “The Death of Jean Moulin: The French Resistance Gets Its Greatest Martyr.” Defense Media Network, 28 July 2013, www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/the-death-of-jean-moulin-the-french-resistance-gets-its-greatest-martyr/.