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As historian Carl A. Brasseaux has noted, "During a six-month period in 1809, approximately

10,000 refugees from Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) arrived at New Orleans,

doubling the Crescent City’s population. . . . The vast majority of these refugees

established themselves permanently in the Crescent City.

 

 

New Orlean's Heart is in Haiti
By Jordan Flaherty


 

New Orleans and Haiti are connected by geography, history, architecture, and family, and news of mass devastation and loss of life in the island nation has hit hard in the Crescent City. Almost every hurricane that has hit our city first brought devastation on our neighbors in Haiti. We are linked not just by a shared experience of storms, but also by first-hand understanding of the ways in which oppression based on race, class and gender interacts with these disasters.

Many New Orleanians have roots in Haiti, and their revolution lent inspiration to our city. The 500 enslaved people from the parishes outside New Orleans that participated in the 1811 Rebellion to End Slavery (the largest armed uprising against slavery in the US) were directly inspired by the Haitian revolution. Even much of our housing design—such as the Creole cottage and shotgun house—came here via Haiti.

As historian Carl A. Brasseaux has noted, "During a six-month period in 1809, approximately 10,000 refugees from Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) arrived at New Orleans, doubling the Crescent City’s population. . . . The vast majority of these refugees established themselves permanently in the Crescent City. [They] had a profound impact upon New Orleans’ development. Refugees established the state’s first newspaper and introduced opera into the Crescent City. They also appear to have played a role in the development of Creole cuisine and the perpetuation of voodoo practices in the New Orleans area."

After Katrina, Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat said New Orleans looked more like Haiti than the US. “It’s hard for those of us who are from places like Freetown or Port-au-Prince not to wonder why the so-called developed world needs so desperately to distance itself from us, especially at a time when an unimaginable tragedy shows exactly how much alike we are,” Danticat said. “We do share a planet that is gradually being warmed by mismanagement, unbalanced exploration, and dismal environmental policies that might one day render us all, First World and Third World residents alike, helpless to more disasters like Hurricane Katrina."

In the days after Katrina, there was no rescue plan for the thousands of people trapped in Orleans Parish Prison, most of whom had not been convicted of any crime, the majority held for nonviolent offenses that ranged from drug violations to traffic tickets. In Port Au Prince, nearly 4,500 Haitians held in a prison built for 800 had the walls fall around them. Many died while others managed to escape. And the corporate media used the fact that these prisoners had freed themselves as an excuse to sow fear against the earthquake victims.

Now, just as after Katrina, the media is eager to demonize and criminalize the victims as “looters.” Pat Robertson has even added a new twist to this old libel, accusing the people of Haiti of literally making a deal with Satan.

New Orleans’ education, health care, and criminal justice systems were already in crisis before Katrina. In Haiti, two hundred years of crippling debt imposed by France, the US and other colonial powers drained the country's financial resources. Military occupation and presidential coups coordinated and funded by the US have devastated the nation's government infrastructure.

Haitian poet and human rights lawyer Ezili Dantò has written, "Haiti's poverty began with a US/Euro trade embargo after its independence, continued with the Independence Debt to France and ecclesiastical and financial colonialism. Moreover, in more recent times, the uses of U.S. foreign aid, as administered through USAID in Haiti, basically serves to fuel conflicts and covertly promote U.S. corporate interests to the detriment of democracy and Haitian health, liberty, sovereignty, social justice and political freedoms. USAID projects have been at the frontlines of orchestrating undemocratic behavior, bringing underdevelopment, coup d’état, impunity of the Haitian Oligarchy, indefinite incarceration of dissenters, and destroying Haiti's food sovereignty, essentially promoting famine."

Author Naomi Klein reported that within 24 hours of the earthquake, the influential right-wing think tank the Heritage Foundation was already seeking to use the disaster as an attempt at further privatization of the country's economy. The Heritage Foundation released similar recommendations in the days after Katrina, calling for “solutions” such as school vouchers.

Our Katrina experience has taught us to be suspicious of Red Cross and other large and bureaucratic aid agencies that function without and means of community accountability. In New Orleans, we've seen literally tens of billions of dollars in aid pledged in the years since Katrina, but only a small fraction of that has made it to those most in need.

A recent letter signed by six human rights organizations brings these concerns to the discussion of Haiti relief. “There is no doubt that Haiti’s hungry, thirsty, injured, and sick urgently need all the assistance the international community can provide, but it is critical that the underlying goal of improving human rights drives the distribution of every dollar of aid given to Haiti,” said Loune Viaud, Director of Strategic Planning and Operations at Zanmi Lasante, one of the drafters of the letter. “The only way to avoid escalation of this crisis is for international aid to take a long-term view and strive to rebuild a stronger Haiti—one that includes a government that can ensure the basic human rights of all Haitians and a nation that is empowered to demand those rights.”

INCITE Women Of Color Against Violence and other feminist organizations brought attention to the way that disaster is gendered, noting that women were especially victimized by Katrina and its aftermath. An organization called the Gender and Disaster Network released six principles for engendered relief and reconstruction, stating, “Gender analysis is not optional or divisive but imperative to direct aid and plan for full and equitable recovery. Nothing in disaster work is ‘gender neutral.’” INCITE activists forwarded a list of Women-run organizations in Haiti, encouraging activists to support relief that focuses on those hardest hit by this disaster.

The final lesson from New Orleans is this: Haiti will still be in crisis long after all of the news cameras have left. As concerned family and friends of Haiti, New Orleanians have pledged to stay involved and not forget about the continuing needs of rebuilding and recovery. We share a common history, and we will work for a shared future of justice and liberation.

Source: Huffingtonpost

Jordan Flaherty is a journalist, an editor of Left Turn Magazine, and a staffer with the Louisiana Justice Institute. He was the first writer to bring the story of the Jena Six to a national audience and audiences around the world have seen the television reports he’s produced for Al-Jazeera, TeleSur, GritTV, and Democracy Now. Haymarket Press will release his new book, FLOODLINES: Stories of Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six, in 2010. He can be reached at neworleans@leftturn.org.

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U.S. Attempts to Erase Haitian NationhoodThe Haitian peasantry, which not so long ago kept the country self-sufficient in basic foodstuffs, became inconvenient after Washington forced Haiti to accept U.S. government-subsidized rice. Port-au-Prince, a town of about a quarter million in 1960, swelled to at least 2.5 million as small rice farmers were forced off the land and into the shanty-opolis, where they built what they could with the resources at hand. U.S.-imposed “structural adjustment” made Port-au-Prince a high-density death trap.

Somehow, this U.S.-mandated migration – which also contributed to the exodus abroad of many hundreds of thousands – is now numbered among the many “failures” of the Haitian people. They must now move again, to places outside Port-au-Prince where they can “reimagine the future,” in Bill Clinton’s words. But whatever the Haitians might imagine, the United States is determined to deny them the right to pursue those dreams. Americans hector Haitians to summon the will to rebuild, but strangle Haitian civil society by effectively outlawing the nation’s most popular political party, Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas. Self-determination is among those things Haitians must not be permitted to rebuild or reclaim.

The Americans seem to prefer that Haitians have no government, at all, even one as compliant as that of President Rene Preval, who collaborated in banning Fanmi Lavalas from taking part in elections. Only one cent of every dollar in U.S. “relief” money goes to or through the Haitian government, which is thus reduced to a crippled and largely irrelevant spectator. The Americans will at some point “reimagine” precisely how the Haitian “protectorate” will be managed in these extraordinary times.

The Haitian people “need democracy and self determination,” said a statement by the U.S.-based Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, “not more military interventions by the U.S., which has sent more than 10,000 troops to subdue our people.” On February 20, the Black is Back Coalition will hold a National March and Rally to Defend Haiti, in Miami, Florida. “Our people in Haiti must have reparations, not self serving charity from France and the U.S.”— Glen Ford, BlackAgendaReport

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#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

Non-fiction

#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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Hopes and Prospects

By Noam Chomsky

In this urgent new book, Noam Chomsky surveys the dangers and prospects of our early twenty-first century. Exploring challenges such as the growing gap between North and South, American exceptionalism (including under President Barack Obama), the fiascos of Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S.-Israeli assault on Gaza, and the recent financial bailouts, he also sees hope for the future and a way to move forward—in the democratic wave in Latin America and in the global solidarity movements that suggest "real progress toward freedom and justice." Hopes and Prospects is essential reading for anyone who is concerned about the primary challenges still facing the human race. "This is a classic Chomsky work: a bonfire of myths and lies, sophistries and delusions. Noam Chomsky is an enduring inspiration all over the world—to millions, I suspect—for the simple reason that he is a truth-teller on an epic scale. I salute him." —John Pilger

In dissecting the rhetoric and logic of American empire and class domination, at home and abroad, Chomsky continues a longstanding and crucial work of elucidation and activism . . .the writing remains unswervingly rational and principled throughout, and lends bracing impetus to the real alternatives before us.—
Publisher's Weekly

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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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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

Browse all issues


1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        

Enjoy!

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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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posted 9 February 2010

 

 

 

Home  Toussaint Table   Interviews   Mau Mau Aesthetics

Related files: Nooses and a legal lynching in Jena, Louisiana     K-Ville (TV Show Review)  Jena Ignites a Movement   Nooses and a legal lynching in Jena   World Social Forum Diary  Notes from Inside New Orleans 

Strange Fruit in Jena  YouTube - The Jena Six   How the U.S. Impoverished Haiti   Jean Saint-Vil of Canada Haiti Action  No, Mister! You Cannot Share My Pain!  The hate and the quake

Out of the Shadows  The Dew Breaker  The Revolutionary Potential of Haiti  Nobody ever chose to be a slave   Haiti on the UN Occupation