Boukman and His Comrades

Boukman and His Comrades


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



 Poor whites chafed with frustrated desire to own slaves and lord it over Black people.

The pivotal notion of their racist superiority complex was an unshakeable belief

 in white skin privilege, no matter how poor and low-down the white man.



Books by Clarence J. Munford

Production relations, class and Black liberation: A Marxist perspective in Afro-American studies (1978)


The Black Ordeal of Slavery and Slave Trading in the French West Indies 1625-1715 (1991)


Race and Reparations: A Black Perspective for the 21st Century   (1996) / Race and Civilization: The Rebirth of Black Centrality (2003) 


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Boukman and His Comrades

Haiti Becomes Pariah of Western Powers

By Clarence J. Munford


The run-up to the great blow struck by Boukman and his comrades still provides the best and most detailed example of a revolutionary situation in the Black race’s lengthy history. By 1789 Black Haiti had readied both the ideological and the human raw material. And Boukman and his maroons were the vanguard organizers of the great slave insurrection of  1791, and even after Boukman’s untimely death in battle his followers continued as the source of the main leadership cadre. Rank-and-file fighters were permeated with ideas that were revolutionary under the circumstances, an ideology consisting of firm belief in divination, trances and possession, and prophecy. 

Above all, there was fervid faith that those leading the fight for freedom were instilled with cosmic energy and could not err, the whole backed with the “Raynalism” outlined earlier. The revolutionary situation was compounded by a severe provisions crisis spreading a famine that helped to mobilize the slaves, and by the deep division among the whites. Separatism caused friction between wealthy slaveholders who wanted to break free from colonial overlord France, on one side, and high crown officials whose jobs depended on the imperial ties, on the other. 

But both wings of the white slaveholding aristocracy regarded the poor whites with cold contempt. Poor whites hated and envied the white aristocrats above them. To a man, though, they despised slaves, mulattos, and free Blacks. Poor whites chafed with frustrated desire to own slaves and lord it over Black people. The pivotal notion of their racist superiority complex was an unshakeable belief in white skin privilege, no matter how poor and low-down the white man. These poor whites were the most ferocious defenders of what they considered the ennobling quality of whiteness.

In short, these cleavages among the island’s white inhabitants prevented a united front against the Black insurgents until it was too late.

Lastly, an essential ingredient in the revolutionary situation was the happenstance that the Black slaves—the sole revolutionary class in the country—were suffering worsening working conditions precisely at the moment when individual manumission was being closed down, and runaways were even being shipped forcibly to the plantations from as far away as France.

The Haitians waged a long and bitter guerrilla war and took exacting revenge on their white oppressors. Eventually the Black freedom fighters were left to themselves without an international ally, as revolutionary France succumbed to Napoleonic despotism. Terrified, the forces of white supremacy rallied together internationally, ringing the revolutionary infestation in the Caribbean with a grim embargo. Having suppressed its own domestic class-revolutionaries, France led the way. Britain, accumulating seed-capital for its industrialization from the enslavement of Blacks and bent on consolidating the empire upon which “the sun never set”, cooperated. 

Newly-independent America, the young United States of slaveholder Presidents Jefferson, Madison and Monroe, anxious to protect Southern plantations, jumped in with obscene enthusiasm. These white powers ganged up to choke Haitian liberation in the bud. The revolutionary spark was doused before it could ignite the Black slaves of the West Indies, USA and the Spanish and Portuguese colonies. Haiti was isolated diplomatically and prevented from setting off further conflagrations, as the white “Great Powers” of the time slapped a ban on the infant Black state as pitiless as the one the United States maintains against revolutionary Cuba today. 

Haiti became a pariah, and by the early 19th century had been driven into dire poverty. A series of corrupt puppet regimes were foisted on the people, culminating in the Ton-Ton Macoute, the Duvaliers and military junta terror. Such was revolutionary Haiti’s punishment for having dared to challenge white supremacy.


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 Dr. Clarence J. Munford is Professor Emeritus of Black Studies and History at the University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, near Toronto. He was born in Massillon, Ohio on November 18, 1935. C.J. Munford, an African American with dual Canadian-U.S. citizenship, has taught in universities in Nigeria, Europe and U.S., in a college teaching career that began in 1959.

He introduced the first courses in Black history in an Ontario university in 1969. He is the recipient of the 1997 African Heritage Studies Association Book Award for Race and Reparations: A Black Perspective for the 21st Century. Munford is active in the N’COBRA campaign for reparations for African Americans.

He is a scholar and activist who has authored numerous articles, addresses and essays, and a three-volume autopsy of early Black enslavement in the West Indies, entitled Black Ordeal (1991). He has focused on the theory and practice of revolutionary nationalism from a Pan-Africanist slant.

Munford is the lead discoverer of civilizational historicism, the theory of human history from a Black vantage point. His newest work, a volume entitled Race and Civilization: The Rebirth of Black Centrality, elaborates and substantiates empirical discoveries presented in earlier works. Race and Civilization was awarded the 2002 AHSA Edward Blyden Book Award. This treatise offers civilizational historicism as the theory and practice of World Black struggle against global white supremacy in the 21st century. Builds on the author’s previous work, Race and Reparations (1996) and in a three-volume study of the Atlantic slave trade, Black Ordeal (1991).

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. “Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality.”—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered

the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

By H. W. Brands

In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar’s astonishing rise to become the world’s principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar’s changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America’s economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan’s bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt’s handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar’s dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today. He concludes with a sobering dissection of the 2008 world financial debacle, which exposed the power–and the enormous risks–of the dollar’s worldwide reign.  The Economy

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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updated 12 April 2008 




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Related files:   Boukman and His Comrades  Atlantic Slave Traffic  N’COBRA   Benefits of Whiteness

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