Defiant Haiti: Free-Soil Runaways, Ship Seizures and the Politics of Diplomatic Non-Recognition in the Early Nineteenth Century

Johnhenry Gonzalez has written an article with engaging stories and on a topic that deserves even more attention.

I finally got to read Johnhenry Gonzalez’s article published in the latest issue of Abolition & Slavery 36:1 (2015): 124-135.  It deals with an understudied topic, but one that is important to me.  If this is an indication of a trend, I am glad for the budding interest in post-revolutionary Haiti (1820s) and the Atlantic World.

Runaways escaping by boat

Runaways escaping by boat

It is only at the end of the article that the reader notices that Gonzalez had nicely weaved in pirates’ and runaway accounts into a foreign policy study. Gonzalez knows that Prince Mary’s remarkable autobiography fits perfectly when talking about runaways from the Caicos’ islands. So, there she is, explaining readers that a lack of a sugar plantation system does not mean a more benevolent slavery, which only existed in the imagination of a few slavery apologists.  Attention to stories like hers bubbles up more than curiosity. It helps contrast the appalling lives of slaves on the Turks and Caicos islands with the freedom that boat-runaways most had gained in Haiti.

Gonzalez insists that Jean-Pierre Boyer’s prolonged regime (1818-1843) should be considered as part of an epoch of sputtering transition toward emancipation.  How did his rule managed to survive for so long in the midst of the sugar archipelago, encircled by the very same islands that were models of intensified slave labor?  And what about the legendary internal divisions? To explain his case, Gonzalez builds upon Ada Ferrer’s work on early Haitian Free-soil policy but does not stay there.  He soon moves toward a more time-honored position and brings with him an underlying assumption.  For Gonzalez, Haitian leaders (principally Boyer) quietly manipulated the “organic” 1816 Constitution for diplomatic ends (more like a bait):

While Pétion and Boyer’s policies of emancipation, free soil, and land reform grew organically from the aspirations of Haiti’s formerly enslaved citizens, these leaders also tacitly used these policies to threaten and punish the hostile British and North American governments. (132)

Here he reminds me of John Edward Baur’s article “Mulatto Machiavelli, Jean-Pierre Boyer, and The Haiti of His Day.” Baur focused on Boyer and presented him as the ideal Haitian practitioner of realpolitik, with an innate talent to negotiate Haiti’s survival.  Thankfully, Gonzalez’s portrayal of Boyer is more nuanced.  He showed Boyer as part of his time and in a mix with the masses of people who are not short in historical agency. But generally speaking, Baur would have agreed with Gonzalez’s main arguments.  It is at the moments when Gonzalez differed strikingly from Baur that the reader notices the author’s major contributions to historiography.

For example, Gonzalez highlighted a point that should have been obvious but is often ignored, one that Baur also assumed: Boyer’s Free Soil policy resulted in a better survival strategy than that of Jean Jaques Dessalines or Henri Christophe’s.  However, differently from Baur, Gonzalez’s understands that Haiti behaved defiantly against the US and British authorities (through consuls and traders) simply because it could do so at this time in history.  No imperial power was dominant enough in the Caribbean to submit Haiti into raw obedience– a situation clearly different after 1915 with the US invasion.  In other words, Gonzalez places Haiti solidly within a more nuanced milieu.  Still, Baur would have supported Gonzalez when explaining Pétion and Boyer’s motivations for their foreign policy of defiance: it was a retaliation against the British and US non-recognition policy.

Haitian officials sign a treaty with France. Date 1825.

Haitian officials sign a treaty with France. Date 1825.

One of the most interesting points in Gonzalez’s article is where he offers a distinct angle for considering the 1825 Indemnity Treaty. Far from justifying getting the country in (eternal) debt, he shows Boyer in a contrasting light. On the one hand, his Free-Soil policy makes him look like a successful postcolonial leader. On the other, however, Boyer looks like a fool when he gave in to French demands. On this point, Gonzalez departs from Baur, who had seen Boyer in 1825 as a prisoner of circumstances.  Boyer had alternatives.

Though many scholars and non-scholars have returned to this moment (see Joan Dayan, page 161 and Frédérique Beauvois). and have wondered about Boyer’s thoughts, most have deemed it as a mistake. Gonzalez makes Boyer’s submission seems even more absurd.

In this light, the French indemnity of 1825 appears especially tragic not simply because it siphoned away Haitian wealth and helped it along the path towards economic ruin, but also because Boyer’s government may have had sufficient military power, domestic political support, and neutral or clandestine trading partners to have continued defying France and Britain well beyond 1825.

Regardless of how inconsistent Boyer’s regime appeared, the most obvious beneficiaries of the Haitian revolutionary legacy were the few runaways from nearby islands, particularly those from the Turks and Caicos.

As with every good piece of scholarship, this article leaves many unanswered questions, which are the seeding grounds for future research.  How much can we speculate about Boyer’s authority and actual power? What role did the people play in shaping the law and foreign policy? How did enslaved families learned about the news in Haiti? Fortunately, recent research is helping find and better understand the runaways’ flights.

Duke University Debuts Website Documenting SNCC & the Voting Rights Struggle

Such a cool site!

GOOD BLACK NEWS

Vq1ywrurDuke University in Durham, North Carolina, has just debuted a new website documenting the struggle of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to secure voting rights for African Americans. The site, entitled “One Person, One Vote: The Legacy of the SNCC and the Fight for Voting Rights,” went live one week before the 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” voting rights march in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965.

Students and faculty at Duke University worked with veterans of SNCC and other civil rights leaders to develop the website. The site includes a timeline, profiles of the key figures in the struggle to secure voting rights, and stories relating to the struggle.

5193ppoofzL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Wesley Hogan, the director of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and the author of Many Minds, One Heart: SNCC’s Dream for a New America (University of North Carolina Press, 2007), stated that “this is…

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The Birth of a Nation

Abagond

Birth_of_a_Nation_theatrical_poster“The Birth of a Nation” (1915) is a Hollywood film based on the bestselling book, “The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan” (1905) by Thomas Dixon, Jr. It was the most successful silent film ever. It revolutionized film-making and led to the rebirth of the Klan.

Lilian Gish stars as a Pure White Woman saved by the Klan from a large mulatto who lusts after her.

D.W. Griffith directs as a film-making genius who has no idea that he is a racist.

The film burst upon a world of nickelodeons where for five cents you could watch short films, generally 10 to 15 minutes long, which were little more than stage plays acted in front of unmoving cameras.

“The Birth of a Nation” was over three hours long and cost an unheard of $2.00 to see.

It had:

  • A new style of filming: cross-cuts, close-ups, establishing shots…

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The Idea of the Black Intellectual

El Imperio de Calibán

The Idea of the Black Intellectual

mums312-b010-i006-001When I first began to teach a class titled Black Intellectual Thought, I wanted to broaden the classic definition of a black intellectual for undergraduates who tended to think of black intellectuals as a small stratum of African Americans who were literate and who had access to mechanisms for publication. I first used William M. Banks’ vivid and engaging text, Black Intellectuals: Race and Responsibility in American Life.1 Black Intellectuals adeptly narrates a history of important black thinkers within changing contexts of slavery, race, and modernization, but it also emphasizes a narrow understanding of black intellectualism. I found myself sometimes working against this text to get students to think about the patterns, changes and complexities of black thought expressed in different contexts by people that did not fit a definition…

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For Shame! Part 3: A Shameful (Erotic?) Theology?

WIT

“Shame need not crouch, in such an Earth as Ours; Shame—stand erect—the Universe is yours!”  – Emily Dickinson, #1304, 1874

“It would not be an overstatement to say that Christianity literally had its birth on the altar of shame.” – Jill L. McNish, Transforming Shame: A Pastoral Response

“… shame does not merely guard the boundary between the public and the private, the political and the personal, the inter- and intrasubjective, but also constantly traverses those boundaries—even very nearly dissolves them. This traversal—this near-dissolution—binds shame tightly to the erotic. If the embrace of the stigma of identity represents a conversion that takes place within shame, so too dos the plunge into the abjection of flesh-and-soul that undoes identity, giving rise to both wild joy and abysmal humility—courting the arrival of grace. This stigma itself turns out to be both the inscription and the erasure of identity, at once the fact…

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The Secret Anglo-American Empire of Intelligence

I wonder how are they tracking my web surfing.

Imperial & Global Forum

nsa

Robert Whitaker
Tarrant County College

There is a telling moment near the beginning of Citizenfour, the Oscar-winning documentary film featuring the initial interviews between NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and reporters. Snowden sits on the edge of a hotel bed describing a collection of documents to journalists Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill. The documents, listed in a computer file directory, include material taken as part of the National Security Agency’s [NSA] global surveillance program. As Snowden talks, Greenwald and MacAskill lean forward to view the files, salivating over the potential headlines from the documents, particularly those concerning German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Snowden, however, remains distant from the excitement, offering the documents to Greenwald and MacAskill without editorializing and without pointing them toward specific stories. For Greenwald and MacAskill, it seems, the importance of Snowden’s revelations lie in the contents of the documents; for Snowden, the importance of the revelations remain…

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The Dred Scott Case Said Blacks Had No Rights the “White Man Was Bound to Respect.” But in the West Things Turned Out Differently. –

We need more works like this that highlight the agency of the racialized.

El Imperio de Calibán

The Dred Scott Case Said Blacks Had No Rights the “White Man Was Bound to Respect.” But in the West Things Turned Out Differently

HNN   March 8, 2015

On March 6, 1857, in the infamous Dred Scott decision, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that African Americans “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” St. Louisans Dred, Harriet, Eliza and Lizzie Scott would stay slaves.

And yet, by March 1865, Congress had passed the 13th Amendment, forever banning slavery, as Union armies marched through the Confederacy. Surprisingly, the shape of the freedom that followed emerged more in the Civil War West than from the battlefields of the South.

Most people ignore the West during the Civil War. Yet the conflict engulfed Missouri, Kansas and Indian Territory (today’s Oklahoma); it spilled over the borders into British Columbia and Mexico. The Confederacy had high hopes…

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The Man Who Stole Puerto Rico

I just love the prose in which this article is written, but most of all, I love Nelson A. Denis’ scholarly work. The original article has pictures: http://www.latinorebels.com/2015/03/03/the-man-who-stole-puerto-rico/

Repeating Islands

A000116“When we think of robber barons, the usual suspects include John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan and Cornelius Vanderbilt. But one robber baron has gone underappreciated: the man who stole Puerto Rico.” So writes Nelson A. Denis, who explores the role of Charles Herbert Allen in Puerto Rico in the early twentieth century. He says: “By the time Allen left Puerto Rico, the entire island was a crime scene.” [Many thanks to Michael O’Neal for bringing this item to our attention.]

His name is Charles Herbert Allen, the first U.S. civilian governor of Puerto Rico. He served only 17 months, but that was all he needed to perform one of the most spectacular crimes of the 20th century. By the time Allen left Puerto Rico, the entire island was a crime scene.

Allen hailed from Lowell, Massachusetts—famous for child labor and textile mill sweatshops. Though he never served in the armed services, he…

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Centuries-old DNA helps identify origins of slave skeletons found in Caribbean

Innovations in the DNA technologies are opening the Caribbean past in ways we never imagined.

Repeating Islands

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Researchers at the Stanford University Medical Center have extracted and sequenced tiny bits of DNA remaining in the teeth of 300-year-old skeletons in the Caribbean. From this data, they were able to determine where in Africa the individuals likely lived before they were captured and enslaved. Here are excerpts:

More than 300 years ago, three African-born slaves died on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin. No written records memorialized their fate, and their names and precise ethnic background remained a mystery. For centuries, their skeletons were subjected to the hot, wet weather of the tropical island until they were unearthed in 2010 during a construction project in the Zoutsteeg area of the capital city of Philipsburg.

Now researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of Copenhagen have extracted and sequenced tiny bits of DNA remaining in the skeletons’ teeth. From this data, they were able to…

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Tourism and Time Zones: Turks and Caicos Changes Zone for Later Sunsets

It is fascinating how much are the islands of the Caribbean willing to bend for the tourist industry: even changing their time zone.

Repeating Islands

Untitled 

Suzy Strutner says that “Some people will do anything for the perfect beach vacation.” I had no idea that one could do this, but the islands of Turks and Caicos swapped time zones on Sunday to give tourists more daylight time to swim, shop, and explore the Caribbean paradise.

Previously, Turks and Caicos followed Eastern Standard Time. The islands switched to Atlantic Standard Time, which they’ll share year-round with eastern Caribbean islands and sections of Canada. In Turks and Caicos, the sun used to set around 5 p.m. in winter. Now, daytime will extend until almost 7 p.m., at least for the spring season.

This isn’t the first vacation spot to jump time zones in favor of tourism. Last month, Mexico’s state of Quintana Roo — home to the beaches of Cancun and Tulum — switched to give tourists more time on beaches and to better match the East Coast, its…

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Sibylle Fischer on the early Haitian Law

Re-reading: Sybelle Fischer’s Modernity Disavowed.

Look here for a post on this book at the blog for Caribbean & Atlantic Bibliographies

Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution

Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution

Fischer’s book is always refreshing and helpful. I realized how much it had influenced me when in a meeting with the author I told a story from the book back to her without realizing that I had actually learned it from her book. I came back to it today to review what she had written on the early Haitian law in chapters 1113. Her in-depth study of the earlier constitutions, particularly that of 1801 (Toussaint Louverture’s) is crucial to my study on the Haitian law. Also helpful is how she projects these constitutions forward in time and see their implications for the rest of the 19th century.

Sarah Franklin’s review focuses on Fischer’s powerful analyzes of Haiti’s postrevolutionary or postcolonial condition. Franklin explains Fischer’s contributions in this area similarly to how I see it.

She notes that the […]  implicit incongruity of forming a society around both racial equality and national sovereignty could not be reconciled. Additionally, her analysis of Haiti’s post-revolutionary constitutions provides new, much-needed insight into the society. She notes that these documents clearly articulate the struggles that lay ahead for Haiti as it formulated its own identity at a time when Europeans were extending their colonies into Africa and Asia and scientific racism was increasingly viewed as a ba- sis for sound policy decisions. Moreover, within the Caribbean and the larger slave-holding world, Haiti was a contagion requiring quarantine and it became increasingly isolated. Thus, Haiti, founded on principles of revolutionary antislavery and personal rights, became consumed by issues of [the] nation and national sovereignty. “Clearly, ideas of citizenship, nationality, and rights of residence undergo severe changes in the first half of the nineteenth century” (244). As Fischer argues, the transnational ideology that provided the foundations of Haiti had to be cast aside, or disavowed, in order for Haiti to survive in a world that had chosen a path of borders and nations.

Franklin’s points in bullets (with my thoughts on reading Fischer):

1- Racial equality was incongruent with the European model of the nation, and thus, impossible to realize (make it happen) under European hegemony.

2- The early Haitian constitutions were more than constitutions (more similar to declarations of independence); they were documents that emerged from a collective of diverse people who were using the drafting of these constitutions as a way to assert their claims to perpetual freedom. The nation was not for them the bourgeoisie ideal that Genovese saw.

3- An isolated “contagion”:  I also agree with Franklin and Fischer in that the Haitian nation missed out in the increasingly fast and copious connections that the new American nations (former Spanish America) were developing among themselves, with the U.S. and Europe. Look for example at how the 1823 Monroe Doctrine ignored Haiti and then the 1826 Panamá Congress. Even when France granted conditional recognition after 1825, Haiti continued being ostracized by the U.S. and other American and European countries. And even when countries did recognize Haiti, it was more a token than a real recognition, which should have meant formal cultural exchanges, less lopsided trade, etc.

Haytian papers. A collection of the very interesting proclamations and other official documents, together with some account of the rise, progress, and present state of the kingdom of Hayti. By Prince Sanders [i.e., Saunders]

Haytian papers. A collection of the very interesting proclamations and other official documents, together with some account of the rise, progress, and present state of the kingdom of Hayti. By Prince Sanders [i.e., Saunders]

4- Transnationalism turns inside out. This is for me an important issue, not so much because through this analysis Fischer looks into future ideologies of resistance used against the U.S. invasion after 1915, but because it provides a well-thought explanation forthe oddity of the Haitian law at its beginnings, before it “turned inside out.” Franklin noticed, as I did, how Fischer’s idea of an anti-nationaltransnationalism thatwas embedded in the writing of the early Haitian law helps explain the recurrent clause assuring the world that Haiti was not going to export its revolution. Such a clause was necessary because the Haitian law was,unmistakenly, a threat to other nations, not simply because it offered refuge to all of those whohad been persecuted by European colonialism (i.e., Spanish-American patriots and runaways), but it diluted its borders with its vague attempt in defining who a Haitian was. If the enslaved families from North Caicos could legally call themselves Haitians, and taken steps toward assuring such an identity by boarding boats and crossing the channel of 130 miles separating them from Hispaniola, then, no nation, not even those who were not in the vicinity, couldmaintain its borders sealed; no country could articulate a monolithic vision of the nation while there was a nation without borders– better said, with borders that protected its citizens from outside threat, but was open to those who would come to stay as natives. The 1824 migrationexemplifies this point. The party (the euphoria for the migration) was over after the American Colonization Society was able toverbalize, more persuasively than before, the threat that an open-borders Haiti meant for the U.S. imperial projects.

Turks and Caicos Islands

Turks and Caicos Islands

Another related point that Fischer offers, which might required more space, is the concept that the nation and the state grew gradually apart; that while the people and the law held on to revolutionary ideals, the state moved away, not simply because it became more authoritarian, but because it rejected the transnationalism that had given Haiti its reason to exist. Such a notion is also crucial for Robert Futton’s Roots of Haitian Despotism. It links to my study by helping frame the early years, prior to the 1826 Rural Code, at a time when the state was still weak enough for the nation (as opposed to the state) to be able to exercise disproportionate influence in domestic as well as foreign affairs.

Further reading (not included in the text above)

Accilien, C., J. Adams, Elmide Méléance, and U. Jean-Pierre. Revolutionary Freedoms: A History of Survival, Strength and Imagination in Haiti. Caribbean Studies Press, 2006.

Bellegarde-Smith, Patrick. Haiti: The Breached Citadel. Canadian Scholars’ Press, 2004.

Bongie, Chris. “Monotonies of History‘: Baron de Vastey and the Mulatto Legend of Derek Walcott’s ’Haitian Trilogy.” Yale French Studies, no. 107 (2005): 70–107

Brière, Jean-François. “Du Sénégal Aux Antilles: Gaspard-Théodore Mollien En Haiti, 1825-1831.” French Colonial History 8 (2007): 71–79.

Calarge, Carla, Raphael Dalleo, and Luis Duno-Gottberg. Haiti and the Americas. Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2013.

Daut, Marlene Leydy. “The ‘Alpha and Omega’ of Haitian Literature: Baron de Vastey and the U.S. Audience of Haitian Political Writing.” Comparative Literature Studies 64, no. 1 (2012): 49–72.

Dayan, Joan. Haiti, History, and the Gods. 1995.

Dubois, L. Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution. Harvard University Press, 2005.

Smith, Matthew J. “Footprints on the Sea: Finding Haiti in Caribbean Historiography.” Small Axe 18:1 43 (2014): 55-71.

Fatton, Robert. Haiti’s Predatory Republic: The Unending Transition to Democracy. Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2002.

Ferrer, Ada. Freedom’s Mirror: Cuba and Haiti in the Age of Revolution. Book, Whole. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

———. “Haiti, Free Soil, and Antislavery in the Revolutionary Atlantic.” The American Historical Review 117:1 (2012): 40–66.

———. “The Archive and the Atlantic’s Haitian Revolution.” Haitian History–Sepinwall: New Perspectives, 2012, 139.

Fick, Carolyn E. “The Haitian Revolution and the Limits of Freedom: Defining Citizenship in the Revolutionary Era.” Social History 32, no. 4 (11): 394–414.

Forsdick, Charles. “Situating Haiti: On Some Early Nineteenth-Century Representations of Toussaint Louverture.” International Journal of Francophone Studies 10, no. 1–2 (March 7, 2007): 17–34.

Gaffield, Julia. “‘Liberté, Indépendance’: Haitian Anti-Slavery and National Independence.” In A Global History of Anti-Slavery Politics in the Nineteenth Century, edited by W. Mulligan and M. Bric, 17–36. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

Garraway, Doris Lorraine. Tree of Liberty: Cultural Legacies of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2008.

Ghachem, Malick W. The Old Regime and the Haitian Revolution. Book, Whole. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Girard, Philippe R. “The ‘Dark Star’: New Scholarship on the Repercussions of the Haitian Revolution.” Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 36, no. 72 (2011): 229–47.

Gonzalez, Johnhenry. “The War on Sugar: Forced Labor, Commodity Production and the Origins of the Haitian Peasantry, 1791–1843.” Ph.D., The University of Chicago, 2012. –

James, C.L.R. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution. Vintage Books, 1989.

Jenson, Deborah. Beyond the slave narrative: Politics, sex, and manuscripts in the Haitian revolution.  Liverpool University Press, 2011.

Johnson, S.E. The Fear of French Negroes: Transcolonial Collaboration in the Revolutionary Americas. University of California Press, 2012.

Jones, Christina Violeta. “Revolution and Reaction: Santo Domingo during the Haitian Revolution and Beyond, 1791–1844.” Ph.D., Howard University, 2008.

Joseph, Celucien L. “‘The Haitian Turn’: An Appraisal of Recent Literary and Historiographical Works on the Haitian Revolution.” Journal of Pan African Studies 5, no. 6 (2012): 37–55.

Kaisary, Philip. The Haitian Revolution in the Literary Imagination: Radical Horizons, Conservative Constraints. University of Virginia Press, 2014.

Kaussen, Valerie Mae. “Romancing the Peasant: History and Revolution in the Modern Haitian Novel.” Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz, 2000.

Kwon, Yun Kyoung. “Ending Slavery, Narrating Emancipation: Revolutionary Legacies in the French Antislavery Debate and ‘Silencing the Haitian Revolution,’ 1814–48.” Ph.D., The University of Chicago, 2012.

Leger, Natalie Marie. “‘A Tragedy of Success!’: Haiti and the Promise of Revolution.” Cornell University, 2012.

Mayes, April, Yolanda C Martín, Carlos Ulises Decena, Kiran Jayaram, and Yveline Alexis. “Transnational Hispaniola: Toward New Paradigms in Haitian and Dominican Studies.” Radical History Review 2013, no. 115 (2013): 26–32.

Middelanis, Carl-Hermann. “Blending with Motifs and Colors: Haitian History Interpreted by Edouard Duval Carrie.” Small Axe 9, no. 2 (2005): 109–23.

Mongey, Vanessa. “A Tale of Two Brothers: Haiti’s Other Revolutions.” The Americas 69, no. 1 (2012): 37–60.

Munro, M., and E. Walcott-Hackshaw. Reinterpreting the Haitian Revolution And Its Cultural Aftershocks. University of the West Indies Press, 2006.

Nesbitt, Nick. Universal Emancipation: The Haitian Revolution and the Radical Enlightenment. The University of Virginia Press, 2008.

_______ “Turning the Tide: The Problem of Popular Insurgency in Haitian Revolutionary Historiography.” Small Axe 27 (2008).

Nessler, Graham. “The Shame of the Nation: The Force of Re-Enslavement and the Law of ‘Slavery’ under the Jean-Louis Ferrand in Santo Domingo, 1804-1809.” NWIG: New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids 86, no. 1/2 (2012): 5–28.

Nessler, Graham Townsend. “A Failed Emancipation? The Struggle for Freedom in Hispaniola during the Haitian Revolution, 1789–1809,” 2011.

Nicholls, David. From Dessalines to Duvalier: Race, Colour, and National Independence in Haiti. Rutgers University Press, 1996.

Paravisini-Gebert, Lizabeth. “The Haitian Revolution in Interstices and Shadows: A Re-Reading of Alejo Carpentier’s The Kingdom of This World.” Research in African Literatures 35, no. 2 (2004): 114–27.

Past, Mariana. “Reclaiming the Haitian Revolution: Race, Politics and History in Twentieth-Century Caribbean Literature,” 2006.

Pisarz-Ramirez, Gabriele. “‘The Darkest Is Before the Break of Day.’ Rhetorical Uses of Haiti in the Works Fo Early African-American Writers.” Atlantic Studies 4, no. 1 (March 2007): 37–50.

Popkin, Jeremy D. “Race, Slavery, and the French and Haitian Revolutions.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 37, no. 1 (2003): 113–22.

Ramsey, Kate. “Performances of Prohibition: Law, ‘Superstition,’ and National Modernity in Haiti.” Columbia University, 2002.

Reinsel, Amy. “Poetry of Revolution: Romanticism and National Projects in Nineteenth-Century Haiti.” Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2008.

Scott, David. Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment. Duke University Press, 2004.

Scott, Rebecca J. “Paper Thin: Freedom and Re-Enslavement in the Diaspora of the Haitian Revolution.” Law and History Review 29, no. 04 (2011): 1061–87.

Semley, Lorelle D. “To Live and Die, Free and French Toussaint Louverture’s 1801 Constitution and the Original Challenge of Black Citizenship.” Radical History Review 2013, no. 115 (2013): 65–90.

Sepinwall, Alyssa Goldstein. Haitian History: New Perspectives. New York: Routledge, 2012.

Sheller, Mimi. “The Army of Sufferers: Peasant Democracy in the Early Republic of Haiti.” New West Indian Guide 74, no. I/2 (2000): 33–56.

Sheridan, Richard B. “From Jamaican Slavery to Haitian Freedom: The Case of the Black Crew of the Pilot Boat, Deep Nine.” Journal of Negro History, 1982, 328–39.

Trouillot, Michel-Rolph. Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History. Boston, Mass: Beacon Press, 2002.

West, M.O., W.G. Martin, and F.C. Wilkins. From Toussaint to Tupac: The Black International Since the Age of Revolution. University of North Carolina Press, 2009.

Dominica changes designation of indigenous people from Carib to Kalinago

This is relevant to my Colonial Latin American History course. The Caribbean Sea should remind every one of the power to name that the European sojourners exercised here.

Repeating Islands

dominica316

The country’s prime minister says the change seeks to right a historical wrong in the life of the Kalinago people, TeleSur reports. Our thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.

Five years after embarking on a campaign to change the name of the 3,700-acre Carib Territory to the Kalinago Territory, Dominica’s indigenous people are to get their wish.

The Government of Dominica announced that the name change is an urgent matter and will be down for consideration at the first sitting of parliament since the December 2014 general election.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says as well as renaming the territory, the government intends to ensure the Carib Chief will be known as the Kalinago Chief.

This is a vital issue for Dominica’s indigenous people, who say the term “Carib” dates back to Christopher Columbus and is a derogatory term with connotations of cannibalism. For years, several chiefs have said the…

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MLK: this is always inspiring

quote

Martin Luther King Jr. > Quotes > Quotable Quote

Martin Luther King Jr.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

Metacognition | Center for Teaching | Vanderbilt University

Metacognition | Center for Teaching | Vanderbilt University.

Nancy Chick writes about using Metacognition in the classroom, but her suggestions are also relevant for individual usage. Keeping a weekly, or bi-weekly (depending on the intensity of your research) reflective journal is as helpful for students as it is for faculty. The question that remains for me is how to walk the line between disclosure and privacy, particularly about research material and ideas.

Myth, Reality and the Underground Railroad

Thanks, Norberto, for sharing this article. Kytle and Geissert make a terrific comparison between the Anti-slavery memorialists and the “Lost Cause” ideologues, and warn us about how easy is to fall into the “End of History” (not a term they used) mentality: “a mythos of accomplished glory, a history of emancipation completed.”

El Imperio de Calibán

Myth, Reality and the Underground Railroad

New York Times      February 27, 2015

disunion45On Feb. 24, 1865, William Lloyd Garrison, the editor of the antislavery weekly The Liberator, published an odd column – odd, because the piece, written by the New York minister Thomas Jefferson Sawyer, had already appeared in the paper, less than a year before. But Garrison believed that the article’s point – about collective memory, and collective forgetting – was an important one, and with the war’s end in sight, he wanted to make sure his readers saw it.

“It is a very curious fact in the history of public opinion,” Sawyer wrote, “that the mass of people who never think or act with early reformers gradually come to persuade themselves, as the reformation goes on and grows popular, that they were always of that party, or at least sympathized with its spirit. … Twenty years…

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“‘Vicente Guerrero Is Not North America’s first black president who predates Obama by 180 years’: A Response to Ronda Racha Penrice’s article”

Celucien,
Good job! at calling out the much needed contributions of this article, and to use the occasion to correct, or better said, to informed the readership of how the record should read if we are going to measure history’s “firsts” in terms of titles. Once more, you helped us see how Haitian history has been and continue to be “silenced” to the detriment of our own wellbeing.

Bahamian distance runner writes book on social emotional empowerment

Repeating Islands

book-simmons-

Dr. Marilyn Simmons Bowe, PhD. Educator, Trainer, Motivational Speaker, Researcher, and Marathon Runner was born a child of poverty in Nassau, Bahamas, in an urban low socioeconomic area.  She was the sixth of eight children who were raised by a single divorcee. She and her siblings were raised in a shack, but were told that education would be their way out, The Bahamas Weekly reports.

Defying the odds, Dr. Marilyn graduated from R. M. Bailey High School at the age of 15.  She attended College of The Bahamas and earned an AS in biochemistry at the age of 17. After an initial career as an industrial lab chemist, she earned a B.Sci. in premedical biology with minors in chemistry and education, from Barry University in Miami, Florida and graduated Magna cum laude. Subsequently, she earned an M.Sci. in biomedical sciences with some course work in educational leadership, also at Barry…

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When Americans Lynched Mexicans

El Imperio de Calibán

20carriganwebb-articleLarge Credit Rachel Levit

When Americans Lynched Mexicans

The New York Times    February 20, 2015

THE recent release of a landmark report on the history of lynching in the United States is a welcome contribution to the struggle over American collective memory. Few groups have suffered more systematic mistreatment, abuse and murder than African-Americans, the focus of the report.

One dimension of mob violence that is often overlooked, however, is that lynchers targeted many other racial and ethnic minorities in the United States, including Native Americans, Italians, Chinese and, especially, Mexicans.

Americans are largely unaware that Mexicans were frequently the targets of lynch mobs, from the mid-19th century until well into the 20th century, second only to African-Americans in the scale and scope of the crimes. One case, largely overlooked or ignored by American journalists but not by the Mexican government, was that of seven Mexican shepherds hanged by white…

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He Never Hit Me | Huffpost Women

The many faces of domestic abuse.

Reut Amit Headshot

Habari Gani, America!

November 15, 2014
Huffpost Women
Warning: This post contains descriptions of intimate partner abuse and may be triggering to some.

How many times did I find myself on his bathroom floor cowering beneath him, feeling the hot spit land on me as he screamed? Stop crying like a baby. You’re crazy. No one else would put up with you. How many times did I shudder on that floor counting my breaths, bringing myself back from the brink of suffocation during a panic attack that was triggered by one of these maniacal and regular assaults? But he never hit me.

How many hours did I remain on that bathroom floor after he had gone to bed, my eyes red with burst blood vessels? How many times did I hear the sound of his snores and realize he had fallen asleep, no more than a meter away, to the sound of me…

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Quality Control: a short story by Edwidge Danticat

A must read!

Repeating Islands

11_16 FictionDANTICAT

This story by Edwidge Danticat appeared in The Washington Post.

On the plane, she dreamed two sniper rifles were being pointed at her head.

The landing announcement jolted her awake.

Joseph Salvador Airport was surrounded by barbed-wire-topped walls. Everything outside was dangerous. Or so the concrete, bunker-like immigration and customs building seemed to indicate. She might be better off taking the next plane back, she thought. But she’d already agreed to write a feel-good story on the island’s first lady, an old college roommate.

It was late afternoon on New Year’s Eve and a roasting 98 degrees. The other passengers standing on line with her were mostly expats, some dragging bags bursting with barely hidden American produce for the island’s famous New Year’s Day stew.

In the past, she might have interviewed her few fellow passengers while waiting for the delayed flight. But a recent case of malaria —…

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