ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
Today, the people of Haiti have joined with their democratically elected
government to demand that France restitute to the Haitian people this “debt” money
– 21.7 billion dollars in today’s currency.
Books on Haiti and the Caribbean
Hubert Cole. Christophe: King of Haiti. New York: The Viking Press, 1967.
C.L.R. James. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (1938)
Josaphat B. Kubayanda. The Poet’s Africa: Africanness in the Poetry of Nicolas Guillen and Aime Cesaire (1990)
Myriam J. A. Chancy. Framing Silence: Revolutionary Novels by Haitian Women (1997)
Paul Laraque and Jack Hirschman. Open Gate An Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry (2001)
David P. Geggus, ed. The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World. University of South Carolina Press, 2001.
* * * * *
Haitians Demand Reparationsfor the Ransom Paid for its Independence
The people of Haiti gained their independence in 1804 following several years of a persistent and bloody struggle against the brutal French colonialists. The colonial powers of the time, notably the United States and France, refused to recognize the legitimate independence of this small island nation. The United States, perhaps the most notorious of the slave owning countries, believed that recognizing Haiti’s independence would threaten the stability of its own inhumane system of slave labor.
In 1825 France demanded that Haiti pay the French government 150 million gold francs to “compensate” French plantation slave-owners for their “financial losses” and in exchange for France’s recognition of Haiti’s independence. Years later, the amount was reduced to 90 million gold francs. The Haitian elite who had gained control of the country following independence, caved in to the pressure, seeing this ransom as an inevitable and necessary financial obligation if the country were to be allowed to live in peace and freedom and resume trade with its former colonizers. It took Haiti close to 100 years to pay off this debt and the debt was paid, not out of the money made by the elite through the export of raw goods, but rather on the backs of the Haitian people who continued to work the land. All the public schools in Haiti were closed in order to make the first payment, the first example of the imposition of a structural adjustment program.
Today, the people of Haiti have joined with their democratically elected government to demand that France restitute to the Haitian people this “debt” money – 21.7 billion dollars in today’s currency. On behalf of the people of Haiti, President Jean Bertrand Artistide has made an official request to France, which has formally recognized slavery to be a crime against humanity; French legislators have verbally recognized the legitimacy Haiti’s request for restitution. Although several international lawyers are working on the case for restitution, the hope is that France will act according to its stated principle and pay its debt to the Haitian people without the recourse of international law. Unfortunately, in an echo of the ugly “1825” past, the French government has reacted to this just request by placing Haiti on a list of “undesirable” countries not to be visited; this vindictive and unjustifiable response is being protested by people of conscience, particularly in France and Haiti.
As Haiti starts the celebration of its bicentennial, we are asking you to support the Haitian people in their claim for restitution. France’s payment of this debt will give the people of Haiti the financial resources needed to finally reverse the legacy of neo-colonial exploitation, oppression and structural underdevelopment that has caused their country to be labeled the “poorest in the western hemisphere”. Restitution will pave the road toward true economic rebuilding, independence and improved living conditions, and will send a clear message that the financial and human damages inflicted by the colonial powers must be rectified, not just in Haiti, but throughout the world.
For more information about Haiti or to learn what you can do to support Haiti, call the Haiti Action Committee at (510) 483-7481, write them at HAC, P.O. Box 2218, Berkeley CA 94702 or visit their website at http://www.haitiaction.org
* * * * *
For July 1st through August 31st 2011
#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
* * * * *
The slave revolution that two hundred years ago created the state of Haiti alarmed and excited public opinion on both sides of the Atlantic. Its repercussions ranged from the world commodity markets to the imagination of poets, from the council chambers of the great powers to slave quarters in Virginia and Brazil and most points in between. Sharing attention with such tumultuous events as the French Revolution and the Napoleonic War, Haiti’s fifteen-year struggle for racial equality, slave emancipation, and colonial independence challenged notions about racial hierarchy that were gaining legitimacy in an Atlantic world dominated by Europeans and the slave trade. The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World explores the multifarious influencefrom economic to ideological to psychologicalthat a revolt on a small Caribbean island had on the continents surrounding it.
Fifteen international scholars, including eminent historians David Brion Davis, Seymour Drescher, and Robin Blackburn, explicate such diverse ramifications as the spawning of slave resistance and the stimulation of slavery’s expansion, the opening of economic frontiers, and the formation of black and white diasporas. Seeking to disentangle the effects of the Haitian Revolutionfrom those of the French Revolution, they demonstrate that its impact was ambiguous, complex, and contradictory.Publisher, University of South Carolina Press
David P. Geggus is a professor of history at the University of Florida in Gainesville and a former Guggenheim and National Humanities Center fellow. He has published extensively on the history of slavery and the Caribbean, with a particular focus on the Haitian Revolution. He is the author of Slavery, War and Revolution: The British Occupation of Saint Domingue, 17931798 and an editor of A Turbulent Time: The French Revolution and the Greater Caribbean. Geggus lives in Gainesville.
By Laurent Dubois and John D. Garrigus
* * * * *
By Charles C. Mann
Im a big fan of Charles Manns previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. Its exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that its anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, Im proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, globalized entity.
Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple. We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.
* * * * *
From The World and Africa, 1965
* * * * *
* * * * *
If you like this page consider making a donation
online through PayPal
* * * * *
Browse all issues
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
update 6 May 2010