1st Edition

African Americans and the Haitian Revolution Selected Essays and Historical Documents

Edited By Maurice Jackson, Jacqueline Bacon Copyright 2010
    272 Pages
    by Routledge

    272 Pages
    by Routledge

    Bringing together scholarly essays and helpfully annotated primary documents, African Americans and the Haitian Revolution collects not only the best recent scholarship on the subject, but also showcases the primary texts written by African Americans about the Haitian Revolution. Rather than being about the revolution itself, this collection attempts to show how the events in Haiti served to galvanize African Americans to think about themselves and to act in accordance with their beliefs, and contributes to the study of African Americans in the wider Atlantic World.


    Maurice Jackson and Jacqueline Bacon

    Part One: Essays

    Chapter One: Fever and Fret: The Haitian Revolution and African American Responses

    Maurice Jackson and Jacqueline Bacon

    Chapter Two: Afro-American Sailors and the International Communication Network: The Case of Newport Bowers

    Julius S. Scott

    Chapter Three: The Roots of Early Black Nationalism: Northern African Americans' Invocations of Haiti in the Early Nineteenth Century

    Sara C. Fanning

    Chapter Four: "The Black Republic:" The Influence of the Haitian Revolution on Northern Black Political Consciousness, 1816-1862

    Leslie M. Alexander

    Chapter Five: "A Revolution Unexampled in the History of Man": The Haitian Revolution in Freedom’s Journal, 1827-1829

    Jacqueline Bacon

    Chapter Six: Antebellum African Americans, Public Commemoration, and the Haitian Revolution: A Problem of Historical Mythmaking

    Mitch Kachun

    Chapter Seven: American Toussaints: Symbol, Subversion, and the Black Atlantic Tradition in the American Civil War

    Matthew J. Clavin

    Chapter Eight: "The Spirit of Human Brotherhood," "The Sisterhood of Nations," and "Perfect Manhood": Frederick Douglass and the Rhetorical Significance of the Haitian Revolution

    Glen McClish

    Chapter Nine: No Man Could Hinder Him: Remembering Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution in the History, Music, Art and Culture of the African American People

    Maurice Jackson

    Part Two: Historical Documents

    "The Condition and Prospects of Hayti" (1826)

    John Browne Russwurm

    The Haitian Revolution in Freedom’s Journal, the first African American Newspaper (1827-1828)

    From A Lecture on the Haytien Revolutions; With a Sketch of the Character of Toussaint L'Ouverture. Delivered at the Stuyvesant Institute, (For the Benefit of the Colored Orphan Asylum,) February 26, 1841.

    James McCune Smith

    From St. Domingo: Its Revolutions and its Patriots. A Lecture, Delivered before the Metropolitan Athenaeum, London, May 16, and at St. Thomas' Church, Philadelphia, December 20, 1854

    William Wells Brown

    From A Vindication of the Capacity of the Negro Race for Self-Government, and Civilized Progress, as Demonstrated by Historical Events of the Haytian Revolution; and the Subsequent Acts of that People Since Their National Independence (1857)

    James Theodore Holly

    The Haitian Revolution in Resolutions Adopted by African American State and Regional Conventions (1858, 1859, 1865)

    From Men of Mark: Eminent, Progressive, and Rising (1887)

    William J. Simmons

    From Lecture on Haiti. The Haitian Pavilion Dedication Ceremonies Delivered at the World’s Fair, in Jackson Park, Chicago, Jan. 2d, 1893

    Frederick Douglass

    "The Same" (1932)

    Langston Hughes

    From A History of Pan-African Revolt (1938 [1969])

    C. L. R. James

    "Mister Toussan" (1941)

    Ralph Ellison

    "Ho Chi Minh is Toussaint L’Ouverture of Indo-China" (1954)

    Paul Robeson




    Maurice Jackson is Associate Professor in the Department of History at Georgetown University. He is the author of Let This Voice Be Heard: Anthony Benezet, Father of Atlantic Abolitionism.

    Jacqueline Bacon is an independent scholar in San Diego, California. She is the author of Freedom's Journal: The First African-American Newspaper.

    "This is a timely and enterprising collection that answers a growing need to set African American history in a broader international context. It combines essays that are diverse in approach with a wide-ranging selection of documents."

    • David Patrick Geggus, co-editor of The World of the Haitian Revolution

    "The chapters and documents presented in this edited volume deliver the goods in rich abundance as promised in its title, through deeply probing exploration of important connections between people of African descent in the United States of America and the history and legacy of the Haitian Revolution. The central significance of that upheaval, when slaves freed themselves in the Caribbean, cannot be overstated for its wide range of impact on the consciousness of enslaved and oppressed blacks in America. African Americans and the Haitian Revolution offers fresh insight and opens up many windows into the role of the historically fascinating and extremely complex world of the Haitian Revolution in shaping the African diaspora."

    • David Barry Gaspar, author of A Turbulent Time: The French Revolution and the Greater Caribbean

    "Amidst a spate of exciting new work on U.S. perceptions of the Haitian Revolution, this work stands out — not simply for the novelty and quality of the scholarship it contains, but also for its efficacy for the classroom. Here, first-rate historical analysis combines with excellent historical editing to offer students the single best volume that can be found on its topic. Highly recommended."

    • Patrick Rael, author of African-American Activism before the Civil War: A Reader on the Freedom Struggle in the Antebellum North

    "These essays and case-studies presented as a collection are so compelling because stylistically mirroring the historical ebb and flow of ideas across ‘porous borders’, the works in this volume converse with each other. They present a variety of evidence which unarguably attests to the enduring influence which Haiti has and continues to have on the actions and consciousness of African-Americans. ... What is abundantly clear through the chronologically wide-ranging array of evidence presented in this volume, is that Haiti’s revolution and its aftermath have been undeniably key in African-American’s: recognition of their own potential and; galvanising themselves and their community to act in creating both material freedoms and continuing to inspire freedoms of mind."

    Wendy Asquith, University of Liverpool