Hégésippe Jean Légitimus (born 8 April 1868 in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe; died 29 November 1944 in Angles-sur-l'Anglin, France) was a socialist politician from Guadeloupe who served in the French National Assembly from 1898–1902 and from 1906-1914.
Légitimus was the first black man elected to the French parliament since Jean-Baptiste Belley in 1793. Up until 1898 the colonies and territoires d'Outre-Mer had only been represented by white or mixed-race, or "béké" deputies. Légitimus was followed shortly afterwards by other black deputies, Gratien Candace, Blaise Diagne, Ngalandou Diouf, Achille René-Boisneuf and Maurice Satineau. Légitimus was one of the founders of the Parti Ouvrier, the socialist party of Guadaloupe, which was politically aligned with that of mainland France.
Hegesippe Jean Légitimus, councilor and mayor of Pointe-à-Pitre, founder of the socialist movement in Guadeloupe, Member of Parliament in Paris, scored heavily at the beginning of the century French political life.
He was the first black to sit in the parliamentary assembly alongside Guesde, Jean Jaurès and Léon Blum, he was a friend with.
In 1870 began a sugar crisis had the effect of concentrating the properties in favor of plants that already belonged to the industrial metropolis. This crisis would continue until 1914. Many families abandoned the city for Guadeloupe.
At this crisis, a new political movement coincided claiming socialism. This trend was personified by Jean Légitimus Hegesippus in Guadeloupe and Martinique in Lagrosillière Joseph.
So a socialist movement took shape in late Model: nineteenth century. He was represented in Guadeloupe by the Socialist Party which Hegesippe Jean Légitimus was a founder.
Also founder of Republican Youth Committee and the Workers Party of Guadeloupe, he founded the newspaper "The People" in 1891 where he signed texts of primary importance as the "Great whites, mulattos big, tall Negroes," or "Negroes before. " This party, being the first party to defend the workers and blacks, quickly became popular.
Jean Légitimus Hegesippus entered the House of Deputies as a member of Guadeloupe in 1898, became president of the council in 1899 and was elected mayor of Pointe-à-Pitre in 1904.
The new regime embodied by Hegesippe Jean Légitimus attacked the virtual monopoly of mulattoes in local politics, they then being accused of acting to the detriment of blacks. But, for economic reasons, was forced to spend Légitimus an agreement with industry, the alliance working capital, which earned him many critics.
Yet we considered him for a quarter century as the voice of the black world, calling him "the black Jaurès". By opening the doors of secondary education and above his colored brethren and supporting the political career of Gaston Monnerville and Felix Eboue, he actively promoted the social and political emancipation of the black world.
On the proposal of General de Gaulle, President of the Board, and under the responsibility of Sainteny, Government Representative, member of constitutional council, his remains were returned to Guadeloupe, where he had a state funeral.
Several streets and boulevards of Guadeloupe are currently named after Lamentin, Petit-Canal, St. Louis Marie-Galante, Les Abymes and Pointe-à-Pitre. On the main boulevard of the city, a bust perpetuates the memory of that first black member.
During the commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the abolition of slavery, in May 1998, several commemorative plaques were unveiled to his memory in front of more than fifty of his descendants, the commemoration was chaired by Gésip Légitimus, grandson of this exceptional man who has found his way back up the torch by his struggle and his work in the audiovisual world.
His son Victor-Etienne Légitimus, journalist, husband of the actress Darling Légitimus, had created La Solidarité Antillaise (the "Caribbean Solidarity") to defend the interests of his compatriots and actively participated in the creation of the MRAP (Movement against Racism and for Friendship among Peoples), and LICRA (International League against Racism and Antisemitism)
"The free man is made for speaking, as is the bird for singing.
Woe be he if, intelligent, able to be useful to his people, to humanity thanks to his moral and intellectual faculties, he satisfies himself with vegetating miserably between fear and lazy pleasures!
We are made for the struggle
And whichever way we choose to direct our faculties,
It as an imperious law that impels us to implement them.(...)
I want mankind happy and smiling, I want a proclaimed and recognized equality between all and by all.
I want the light to be diffused in torrents, profusely; no more ignorant people and no more proletarians!
All men reunited as one huge family sharing the air, the sun, the water and the bread, with a kiss." 
- Florent Girard Hégésippe Jean Légitimus: ou L'apôtre de l'émancipation des Nègres de la Guadeloupe Jasor, 2005
- Hégésippe Jean Légitimus on French National Assembly website Retrieved 13 June 2011
- Comptes rendus mensuels des séances de l'Académie des sciences Volume 8 Académie des sciences d'outre-mer, Académie des sciences coloniales (France) - 1948 "Légitimus, entrait au Palais-Bourbon suivi peu d'années après de MM. Candace, Diagne, Galandou Diouf, Boisneuf et Satineau. Jusqu'à cette année 1898, les colonies furent exclusivement représentées au Sénat comme à la Chambre des députés par des hommes de la race blanche ou de couleur. A l'heure actuelle, en 1948, cent ans après 1848, aux côtés des blancs et ..."
- Le Petit Futé - Guadeloupe 2010 Page 61 Jean-Paul Labourdette, Dominique Auzias "Diplômé du lycée Carnot, Hégésippe Jean Légitimus (1863-1944) est l'un des fondateurs du parti socialiste, aligné idéologiquement sur celui de la métropole. il devient rapidement le symbole d'une majorité, "
- Robert Stuart Marxism and national identity: socialism, nationalism, and National Socialism during the French Fin de Siècle. 2006 Page 100 "In the course of this mobilization, the charismatic (and black) leader of the Parti Ouvrier in Guadeloupe, Jean-Hégésippe Légitimus, became both the founder of Antillean socialism and one of the first and greatest champions of the islands' long-oppressed blacks."
- culture.gouv.fr : certificate of the legion of honour
- A text Hegesippe-Jean Légitimus wrote in the newspaper "The People" which he founded in La Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe - February 4, 1894