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O Miserable Chieftain! Where and when / Wilt thou find Patience? Yet die not; do thou

   Wear rather in thy bonds a cheerful brow  / Though fallen thyself, never to rise again,

Live, and take comfort. Thou hast left behind  / Powers that will work for thee; air, earth, and skies

 

 

Books about Toussaint and the Haitian Revolution

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)

 

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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To Toussaint L'Ouverture

By William Wordsworth

 (1770–1850)

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To Toussaint L'Ouverture

 

By William Wordsworth

 (1770–1850)

Toussaint, the most unhappy man of men

   Whether the whistling Rustic tend his plough

   Within thy hearing, or thy head be now

Pillowed in some deep dungeon’s earless den;

O Miserable Chieftain! Where and when

   Wilt thou find Patience? Yet die not; do thou

   Wear rather in thy bonds a cheerful brow:

Though fallen thyself, never to rise again,

Live, and take comfort. Thou hast left behind

   Powers that will work for thee; air, earth, and skies;

There’s not a breathing of the common wind

   That will forget thee; thou hast great allies;

Thy friends are exultations, agonies,

   And love, and man’s unconquerable mind.

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Toussaint L'Ouverture (c.1744-1803), Haitian patriot and martyr. A self-educated slave freed shortly before the uprising in 1791, he joined the black rebellion to liberate the slaves and became its organizational genius. Rapidly rising in power, Toussaint joined forces for a brief period in 1793 with the Spanish of Santo Domingo and in a series of fast-moving campaigns became known as L'Ouverture [the opening], a name he adopted. Although he professed allegiance to France, first to the Republic and then to Napoleon, he was singleheartedly devoted to the cause of his own people and advocated it in his talks with French commissioners. Late in 1793 the British occupied all of Haiti's coastal cities and allied themselves with the Spanish in the eastern part of the island.

Toussaint was the acknowledged leader against them and, with the generals Dessalines  and Christophe , recaptured (1798) several towns from the British and secured their complete withdrawal. In 1799 the mulatto general André Rigaud enlisted the aid of Alexandre Pétion and Jean Pierre Boyer, asserted mulatto supremacy, and launched a revolt against Toussaint; the uprising was quelled when Pétion lost the southern port of Jacmel. 

In 1801, Toussaint conquered Santo Domingo, which had been ceded by Spain to France in 1795, and thus he governed the whole island. By then professing only nominal allegiance to France, he reorganized the government and instituted public improvements. Napoleon sent (1802) a large force under General Leclerc to subdue Toussaint, who had become a major obstacle to French colonial ambitions in the Western Hemisphere; the Haitians, however, offered stubborn resistance, and a peace treaty was drawn. 

Toussaint himself was treacherously seized and sent to France, where he died in a dungeon at Fort-de-Joux, in the French Jura. His valiant life and tragic death made him a symbol of the fight for liberty, and he is celebrated in one of Wordsworth's finest sonnets and in a dramatic poem by Lamartine.

Bibliography

C.L.R. James. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (1938; 2d ed. 1963))

C. Moran, Black Triumvirate: A Study of L'Ouverture, Dessalines, Christophe (1957)

A. M. Schlesinger, Jr., ed., Toussaint L'Ouverture: Haitian Liberator (1989)

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

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#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

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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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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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posted 2 May 2010

 

 

 

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Related files:  Toussaint Memoir  Toussaint & Turner By Du Bos   Toussaint Chronology  French West Indian Writer