Paris—French President Jacques Chirac said on Monday he supported setting aside a day to remember slavery after a heated row about a law encouraging the positive portrayal of France’s colonial past in schoolbooks.
Chirac said it was important to look clearly at history because it could “make you stronger”.
“Many people need an acknowledgement of this painful past that has been forgotten too often and for too long.”
Chirac’s conservative government has been involved in a row about a law passed in February that critics have said was racist.
A passage in it urged teachers to stress the “positive role of the French presence overseas, especially in North Africa”.