ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



 Following a 19-year occupation, U.S. military forces were withdrawn in 1934,

and Haiti regained sovereign rule.


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)

Edourad Gissant. Caribbean Doscourse (2004)  /  Barbara Harlow. Resistance Literature (1987)

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.

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The 200th Anniversary of the Haitian Independence

By Manes Pierre


Celebrating Haiti’s independence is indeed a grandiose undertaking.  It is a reminder that before Haiti could declare self-rule, it was governed by a colonizer or an empire, in this case, France.  To that extent, like any other independent state, Haiti and the Haitian people should be honored for achieving that important milestone, called, “Independence.” 

Many people died during the quest for independence leading to the January 1, 1804, the official day of Haiti’s birthday as a republic.  The first black republic in the Western Hemisphere.  However, as we are getting ready to have our grand party in the next six months, let us look and assess the issues that should be on the program for those traveling to Haiti for the ball and the other two million Haitians across the globe who will also join la grande fete away from home.

For the purpose of this occasion, I would like to propose an analysis of the causes leading to that achievement by looking at the social behaviors during the colonization period and explore a bit further the current social behaviors in Haiti today.  I am going to use a format called “Social Cubism” that was introduced by Dr. Sean Byrne, Ph.D, Professor at Nova Southeastern University, in the department of conflict analysis and resolution. 

He used the social cube to analyze the conflicts in Northern Ireland between the Catholics and the Protestants through:  (1) Economic Factors; (2) Religious Factors; (3) Political Factors; (4) Psychocultural Factors; (5) Historical Factors; and (6) Demographic Factors.  I will adjust the social cube to customize the current menu for the Haitian situation.  Let us compare now the social behaviors in Haiti during the French colonization (1789-1803) and the current social behaviors today (1804-2003):

Haiti – Social Behaviors During the Colonization Period

Economic Factors:  The political economy centers around agriculture via the cheap labor of the black slaves.  The French and the Mulattoes owned almost every piece of land in Haiti.  In other words, the property owners also owned the property-less workers.  I refer to the slaves as property-less workers because no matter how hard they worked on the field, they did not earn any money or compensation.  Through their sweat and hard labor, Haiti was called the pearl of the Antilles.  Haiti was the richest colony of France providing 60 percent of the world’s sugar and 40 percent of the world’s coffee.

Religious Factors: The African religion, vodoun, played a major role in gathering support for the overthrow of the slavery system in Haiti. Liberte ou la mort was the guiding principle behind the eradication of slavery.  On November 18,1803, through the collective effort of the property-less workers, the Napoleon Bonaparte army was defeated and Haiti was the victor.  Many historians believe that the Bois-Caiman ceremony had a lot to do with the victory.

Political Factors: During the colonization period, group consensus played a vital role in community organizing.  Groups were more interested to serve and protect the interests of the local people than their own individual interests.  Achieving equity and taking control of their own destiny was a dream worth dying for.

Psycho-cultural Factors: Blacks and mulattoes united for their independence from the French.  However, the mulattoes usually felt slightly superior to the black since the blacks used to work out in the fields while the mulattoes used to work closely with the French masters.

Historical Factors:  During this period, African slaves were brought to work on sugarcane and coffee plantations.  In 1791, the slave population revolted, led by such Haitian heroes as Toussaint L’Ouverture, Jean Jacques Dessalines, and Henri Christophe, and gained control of the northern part of the French colony, waging a war of attrition against the French.  Blacks and mulattoes united for independence from their French masters. 

Demographic Factors: The birth rate of black slaves steadily increased and was higher than the French settlers.   

Haiti – Current Social Behaviors (1804-2003)

Economic Factors: Blacks and mulattoes now own lands and businesses.  But let’s look at some economic indicators that are currently affecting Haiti: today, about 75% of the population lives in abject poverty.  Failure to reach agreements with international sponsors has denied Haiti badly needed budget and development assistance.    Job creation is stagnant due to continued conflicts between the current administration and the opposition.  The unemployment rate is 60% and is growing.  The National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is estimated at $8.9 billion and is distributed as follows:  42% of agriculture, 14% of the small industries, and 44% of the service sector.  The per capita a year income or purchasing power is estimated at $1,300.  For the past 10 years, the country has experienced increased budget deficits year in year out.  The revenues are estimated at $323 million while the expenditures are estimated at $363 million.  The national treasury is nearly bankrupt.  Unless the international donors step in and provide technical assistance to the current administration, more mass migration toward Florida is  inevitable.

Religious Factors:  Used as a category label, replacing social class and language.  But it increases religious conflicts.  Roman Catholicism is the most popular religion in Haiti.  However, there is a growing number of other religious faiths that are practiced in Haiti.  Recently, through presidential decree, Vodoun has been officially recognized as an official religion with equal status with all other religions in the land.  Long regarded as a secret religion, Vodoun is now openly practiced. This African religion has been mystified for years and time will tell how the Haitian people will integrate it in the religious circles.

Political Factors:  Allegiance to political parties are very strong.  Groups are more loyal to political parties than the national needs. 

Psycho-cultural Factors:  As I said earlier, I wanted to customize the social cube a little bit in order to better fit the social conditions in Haiti with regard to French and Haitian Creole.  Bipolar conflicts emphasize an inclination toward mutual destruction.  French speaking Haitians tend to look down on non-French speakers, thus polarizing the less educated ones or the monolingual Creole speakers.

Historical Factors:  By January 1804, local forces defeated an army sent by Napoleon Bonaparte, established independence from France.  The impending defeat of the French in Haiti is widely credited with contributing to Napoleon’s decision to sell the Louisiana Territory to the United States in 1803.  In 1822, Haiti occupied the Dominicans.  But in 1844, the eastern two-thirds of the island became the Dominican Republic by declaring its independence from Haiti.  After numerous periods of intense political and economic disorder, prompting the United States military intervention of 1915.  Following a 19-year occupation, U.S. military forces were withdrawn in 1934, and Haiti regained sovereign rule. On February 7, 1986, when the 29-year dictatorship of the Duvalier family ended, Haiti was ruled by a series of provisional governments.  On February 7, 2001, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was inaugurated as President. History is mixed between conflicts and compromise.  Figures of cooperation are non-substantive.

Demographic Factors: Population of black Haitians continue to increase at a very rapid rate.  Thus, it is causing mass migration among both the masses and the middle class to the United States, mainly to Florida.

Although Haiti deserves credit for being the first black republic in the world, there is much to be done in terms of building a blue print or a national consensus leading to more positive achievements for all.  The vision of independence is grand.  However, managing one’s independence requires much more than celebration.  Haiti needs leaders and managers who understand the value of roving leaderships as well as collective efforts. 

Too often, the masses are misled with one and only one perception:  securing a personal goal is more important than building or investing in the future of Haiti and her children.  The 200th birthday of Haiti should be a time of reflection and action planning not just a mere Apre Dans, Tambou Lou, “After the party, the drum is heavy.”  Social Cubism looks at the cube and tackles every aspect of a given conflict in order to arrive at a resolution.  Haiti has not yet developed a plan to repair the wounds of its constant conflicts as she is getting ready to celebrate her 200th birthday.

© copyrighted July 2003  / or


Manes Pierre is a native of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.  He is currently a Broward County Educator.  He has been teaching in a wide variety of spectrum, from elementary to high school.  He has also been an adjunct professor at Miami Dade Community College teaching ESL (English to Speakers of Other Languages).

Manes is currently a 3rd year Ph.D. student in Conflict Analysis and Resolution at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  Manes is the author of The Man & His Thoughts, his first book.  He has written many articles ranging from teaching practices to social theories.  Manes is currently working on his consulting projects on Conflict Analysis and Resolution (  He can be contacted via e-mail at

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Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804

A Brief History with Documents

By Laurent Dubois and John D. Garrigus

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books

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 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

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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as “the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field ‘cut their teeth’.”

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.


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posted 13 July 2003 / update 6 May 2010



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Related files:   Experiment in Haiti   The 200th Anniversary of the Haitian Independence      French West Indian Writer  Caribbean Literature