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The Secret History of Haiti and the Horror Today

The defining movement in the struggle against racism in the world was the Haitian Revolution. Slave owners in the United States became extremely anxious at the possibility of a slave uprising taking place on plantations across the South. The Haitian Revolution began on August 22, 1791, and eventually led to complete liberation from Napoleon and French colonialism in 1804. The Black general that would lead this revolution was Toussaint L’Ouverture. This revolt represented the largest slave uprising against slavery in the world and would lead to the German Coast uprising of slaves in Louisiana in 1811, which was the largest slave uprising in United States history. The inspiration that the Haitian Revolution gave to the slaves along the Mississippi River was immense. Today, Haiti’s legacy of freedom is now lost to gang violence, political corruption, and countless attempts by the U.S. government to manipulate the politics of Haiti. The enslaved Blacks and mulattos that made up the bulk of the Haitian revolutionary army were the result of the insane institution of slavery by the French. The sugar cane economy using enslaved people made France rich. Before the revolution, Haiti produced much of the world’s sugar and coffee. This made it an economic prize for greedy French nationalists. What is most interesting is that many Haitian (Black) women fought in the revolution against the French. One such woman was Marie-Jeanne Lamartiniere. She fought with courage at the Battle of Crete a Pierrot and is known as the founding mother of Haiti. …

The defining movement in the struggle against racism in the world was the Haitian Revolution. Slave owners in the United States became extremely anxious at the possibility of a slave uprising taking place on plantations across the South. The Haitian Revolution began on August 22, 1791, and eventually led to complete liberation from Napoleon and French colonialism in 1804. The Black general that would lead this revolution was Toussaint L’Ouverture. This revolt represented the largest slave uprising against slavery in the world and would lead to the German Coast uprising of slaves in Louisiana in 1811, which was the largest slave uprising in United States history. The inspiration that the Haitian Revolution gave to the slaves along the Mississippi River was immense. Today, Haiti’s legacy of freedom is now lost to gang violence, political corruption, and countless attempts by the U.S. government to manipulate the politics of Haiti.

The enslaved Blacks and mulattos that made up the bulk of the Haitian revolutionary army were the result of the insane institution of slavery by the French. The sugar cane economy using enslaved people made France rich. Before the revolution, Haiti produced much of the world’s sugar and coffee. This made it an economic prize for greedy French nationalists. What is most interesting is that many Haitian (Black) women fought in the revolution against the French. One such woman was Marie-Jeanne Lamartiniere. She fought with courage at the Battle of Crete a Pierrot and is known as the founding mother of Haiti. She was able to unite Black and mulatto warriors in a bid to end slavery on the island. Marie-Jeanne fought with the men and had no problem being just as brave, if not more so, than the male soldiers. Being of mixed heritage, Marie-Jeanne helped to solidify the unity of darker and lighter-skinned Black fighters against the French. Marie-Jeanne may also have been mixed with Native ancestry, according to author Phillip Thomas Tucker (2019). The original people of Haiti were the Taino, who were all murdered by Christopher Columbus.

In the battle, a small band of 1,500 Black and mulatto fighters faced off against 12,000 French soldiers as they attacked a fort where the Haitian fighters were holed up. According to Tucker (2019), in his book “Marie-Jeanne,” the woman fighter urged the Black troops on when she shouted, “We will all die for Liberty.” The French used divide-and-conquer tactics by using mulattos in the French ranks to fight against the freedom fighters in much the same way that southern plantation owners used a small number of house slaves to fight for the Confederacy during the Civil War.         

 Over a century later, here come the Americans meddling.  In 1915, the U.S. invaded Haiti and was intent on setting up a Booker T. Washington education model, which was an educational system to teach skills to Black students that benefitted white people. The Haitian people rejected the idea. Before 1915, President Andrew Johnson wanted to take over Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Later, the American Secretary of State tried to secure a Haitian settlement for an American naval base illegally. According to the New Yorker, U.S. Marines kicked around a man’s decapitated head to frighten the rebels in their area. In 1919, the U.S. Marines “assassinated one of the occupation’s most famous fighters, Charlemagne Péralte, and pinned his body to a door, where it was left to rot in the sun for days.” These crimes were committed for 19 years since the U.S. stayed there until 1934, with American soldiers committing crimes against humanity.

The present-day instability in Haiti can be directly tied to the manipulative policies of France and the United States. There have been no elections in Haiti since 2017, and gangs rule the streets. People are facing poverty and famine, and thousands have been killed. Many see Haiti’s Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, as the problem as he is only seeking a military solution instead of addressing the poverty and corruption in the country. As history has shown, military solutions will not work in the long run. According to NBC News, “When Haiti failed to hold elections multiple times — Henry said it was due to logistical problems or violence — protests rang out against him. By the time Henry announced last year that elections would be postponed again to 2025, armed groups that were already active in Port-au-Prince, the capital, dialed up the violence.” 

Haitian scholar Jemima Pierre made a strong argument that “foreign intervention, including from the U.S., is partially to blame for Haiti’s turmoil.” This refers to the sending of U.S. troops to intervene in Haiti’s internal affairs while supporting unpopular and corrupt leaders. 

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