Eboue was an African colonial officer and the governor-general of Chad from 1940 to 1944. Born in Cayenne, French Guiana, and educated in France, Eboue joined the France (French) Ministry of Colonies in 1908. While a colonial official in the Belgian Congo (1908–1917), Eboue developed a sensitivity to the plight of colonial peoples. On leave from the colonial service, Eboue was in Paris during the Second Pan-African Congress in 1921. It is not known whether he attended the conference, but black French colonial notables such as Blaise Diagne, Senegal's deputy, were in attendance. Because Eboue knew Diagne, it is probable that he was aware of the resolutions adopted.
Eboue held positions in numerous French possessions throughout the 1930s. He served as the secretary general in Martinique, 1932–1934, as an administrator in the Soudan [Sudan] colony, 1934–1936, and as governor of Guadeloupe, 1936–1938. His ascendancy to the position of governor-general of Chad, 1940–1944, marked his finest hour. Invaded and forced to surrender to the German occupation forces, France lay prostrate in 1940. The formation of the Vichy government heightened the crisis. Shrewdly, Eboue refused to support the Vichy government, declaring allegiance to the Free French government in exile under Charles de Gaulle. When Eboue died in a French hospital in Cairo, and his death was ignored by the British press, Du Bois took umbrage, stating, “It is discouraging to reflect that the death of a man whose timely and courageous action contributed to the security of the democracies in Central Africa could so easily be forgotten” (Amsterdam Mews, June 3, 1944). See also: Africa; Belgium and the Belgian Congo; France; Pan-Africanism.
Weinstein, Brian. Eboue. New York: Oxford University Press, 1972.
Stephen G. Hall