Books on the Caribbean
Hubert Cole. Christophe: King of Haiti. New
York: The Viking Press, 1967.
The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution
Caribbean Doscourse (2004)
/ Barbara Harlow.
Resistance Literature (1987)
Josaphat B. Kubayanda.
The Poet's Africa: Africanness in the Poetry of Nicolas Guillen and Aime
Paul Laraque and Jack Hirschman.
Gate An Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry
David P. Geggus, ed.
The Impact of the
Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World.
University of South Carolina Press, 2001.
Eyes of the Heart: Seeking a
Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization
* * *
In Defense of Aristide
the Viability of Haitian Democracy
by Rudolph Lewis
Aristide represents the most liberal and
revolutionary forces in Haiti. After his US removal from the
presidency, violence continues on the streets of Haiti in
defense of his importance to the thwarted dreams and hopes of
Haitian workers and peasants. At work in this political
chaos, there are two contending forces -- those who support
Aristide and those who wish to oust or kill Aristide. On the
sidelines are those who wish to dismiss Aristide’s
Those who wish to oust or kill him are not
anti-capitalist or anti-imperialist, but rather reactionary
forces -- former Ton-Ton Macoutes, disbanded right-wing army
officials, and other criminal elements interested in supplanting
democracy, supported with money and guns by the most reactionary
forces in the United States. And worst, this farce is sustained
by commercial media. In such a scenario, one must stand
with the supporters of Aristide or with the reactionary forces.
Those who suggest that the Haiti situation
fits into some classical scenario of workers contending with the
bourgeois state are guilty of wishful thinking and day-dreaming.
Haitian politics has yet to reach that stage of development as
it has not reached that stage in the USA. Calling for a Marxist
Haitian state is armchair theorizing and doctrinaire posturing.
Building and sustaining that kind of consciousness among an
illiterate people and against the most reactionary forces in the
hemisphere is a present impossibility.
As suggested by many, Aristide,
like any politician (or any person) is/was not perfect in every
decision made. (Toussaint the Great also made mistakes.) But
I am convinced by what I know of events that he has the best
interest of the Haitian poor and illiterate at heart and did all
that was in his power to defend their interests, more than any
other public figure in Haiti.
On these grounds, he is deserving of support,
even now in his imposed exile by US Marines. Those who suggest
that he is a petty bourgeois aligned with the oligarchic forces
of Haiti seem to go over the top. That any state in the
Caribbean can establish a workers' state presently as
called for by the most radical of intellectuals is to demand too
much of one of the most exploited sectors of North America. We
do not desire another Granada, a flash-in-the-pan socialism.
Thus it seems to me right and proper to
defend what is indeed possible presently and what is
supposedly the ideal even for US conservatives, a liberal
democratic state apparatus that attends to the needs of the poor
and the defenseless. It is Western racist hypocrisy that must be
This Haitian coup points out that right wing
forces not only in Haiti but also those in the USA aligned with
Bush government agents will not even allow such a moderate
Caribbean state in Haiti. Clearly there is a hatred for the
blackness of Haiti and Haitian history. These USA extremists now
demand absolute capitulation to bestial exploitation and the
meanest of repression. Aristide's removal is symbolical of this
mindset of radical right-wing politics.
A support of Aristide is thus a stance
against such crass imperial politics. Despite his radical
critics, Aristide is indeed a martyr for Haitian democracy, even
though US agents decided against his murder, just as
Toussaint was a martyr for black state independence, even though
Napoleon tactically decided against his assassination.
I will not participate in any damning of
Aristide. That sort of venom should be directed at our own
(American) politicians and specifically the Bush-Powell
administration. For us to be attacking liberal supporters of
Aristide (black or white) will gain us nothing, not for the poor
of Haiti, nor even a unified phalanx against the agents who
orchestrated this fiasco in Haiti.
Some of us may feel self-righteous about the purity of
our politics and more caring about the welfare and destiny of
the Haitian people than Aristide who worked among and for them
most of his life. But that kind of stance or polemic does not
move us closer to what we all desire for Haiti or our own
society -- the elimination of injustice in all areas of life.
From any fair evaluation, Aristide exacted more social progress
than in any era of Haiti’s political life and, like Toussaint,
left roots that will continue to grow and develop.
* * * *
The Impact of the
Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World
Reviewed by Mimi Sheller
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 influence—from
economic to ideological to psychological—that 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
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,
1793–1798 and an editor of
A Turbulent Time: The French Revolution and the Greater Caribbean.
Geggus lives in Gainesville.
* * * * *
Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804
A Brief History with Documents
By Laurent Dubois and
John D. Garrigus
* * * *
Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays
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,
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'."
* * *
Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in
By Melissa V.
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.
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
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
* * *
update 6 May 2010