Built by Henri Pick, famous 18th century architect. It was built for the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1889, then was transferred by boat to Fort de France. The Schoelcher Library owes its name to Victor Schoelcher who dedicated his life and writings to the fight against slavery.
On April 27, 1848, he himself signed the decree of abolition of slavery, which was only enforced by force on May 22 in Martinique, resulting from the revolt of the slaves.
For Victor Schoelcher, the Freedom of slaves has no real value unless they are without education, the liberation of slaves would be in vain, then to facilitate free access to knowledge, during his lifetime he offered in 1883 to Martinique nearly 10 000 volumes of his personal collection, unique for their wealth; thus forcing the colony to build a Library.
It was the General Council of the time that was in charge of building the building opposite the site of the Hôtel du Petit Gouvernement, the current Prefecture, where Josephine de Beauharnais had lived. Most of the books donated by Victor Schoelcher were destroyed in the great fire of 1890 that ravaged the city.
Today, this magnificent metal structure in the shape of a multicolored basilica under a luminous Byzantine glass dome. Its beautiful colored façade is striking, bearing the names of 52 literary figures, philosophers and politicians of the 18th and 19th centuries. It has retained its free and open access to education and also allows local and international artists to make themselves known at exhibitions.
Admission is free.
Opening hours: Monday 1:00-5:30 pm, Tuesday to Thursday 8:30 am-5:30 pm, Friday 8:30 am-5:00 pm, Saturday 8:30 am-12:00 pm.
1 Rue de la liberté, Fort-de-France 97200, Martinique