How was a self-proclaimed Black nation to define its role in an Atlantic world deeply entwined with enslaved Black labor?
Global Black History
Félix Darfour accused the post-independence Haitian republic with corruption. He lost his life for it.
The language and culture of Kreyòl, as well as the Vodou religion, reveal a vision of Haitian sovereignty on behalf of those formerly enslaved.
After winning independence, the West rushed to teach Haiti a lesson so that their revolutionary experience would not recur on the continent. Haiti suffers the repercussions of such attacks to this day.
For Frederick Douglass, and for Black activists across the United States, there was no place more important to global Black freedom than Haiti.
Haiti truly manifested the principles of liberty, but international resistance and racism have worked for 220 years to undermine its sovereignty.
Not the United States, Great Britain, France, or any other enslaver deserves credit for ending slavery. Atlantic abolition began with Haiti.
“On the roadside, in homes, or at the marketplaces, Haitian women studied women’s history, culture, and politics—all without formal education.”
Don’t question Angela Davis’ manuscript, Toni Morrison warned her publishing colleagues. Davis was not “Jane Fonda” but, rather, “Jean d’Arc.”
In 1937, a newspaper trumpeted two speculative fiction stories—“Black Internationale” and “Black Empire”— as dramatically as if they were news.
Artist Simone Leigh curated a series of intellectual sermons directed by Black women who grieved, strategized, loved, and yearned for community.
“For those Afro-Caribbean Panamanian who had lived through Panama’s Canal Zone apartheid, Brooklyn segregation probably came as no surprise.”
In the 1740s, Bordeaux developed some of the first modern theories of racial difference, even as the city profited from the slave trade.
“Consider the laughter on October 15, 1982—after 1,000 people died from complications related to AIDS—at the Reagan White House press briefing.”
“When did everyone become Black and not of specific nations themselves? Why did being Black mean not belonging to a place?”
“What would it mean to create a sanctuary for all?”
Butler’s work helps us see how time is a spiral, how the present moment is always layered with multiple pasts and underlying alternate futures.
Rather than politically utopian, Butler’s stories teach us about grief, consolation, hope, and—most of all—how to live in struggle.
“She wanted people to be curious and take action in their lives. Not be sheep. To find the ways we can work together in crisis.”