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Ten books linking Haiti, Haitians to US history for your BHM library

By Rachel Cassagnol

haitians and black history month

Haiti and Haitians have influenced American history and culture significantly through the centuries. As you learn about Black heroes during Black History Month, be sure to add or keep an eye out for these books that touch on the lives, contributions and influences of Haiti and Haitians that inspired developments in the U.S. and African-American history.

The Common Wind: Afro-American Currents in the Age of the Haitian Revolution by Julius S. Scott

The Common Wind is an account largely based on official 18th century records in Spanish, English, and French, according to the publisher. In it, Scott tracks “the colliding worlds of buccaneers, military deserters, and maroon communards from Venezuela to Virginia” in this history of the enslaved.

Chicago’s Authentic Founder: Jean Baptiste Point Dusable Or Haitian Secret Agent In The Old Northwest Outpost 1745-1818 by Marc O. Rosier

Recognized as the Founder of Chicago, Jean Baptiste Point DuSable was a pioneer, born in Haiti, formerly Saint-Domingue was one of the first to settle there and with his vision and trading skills has changed the destiny of the city.

Savannah: Chasseurs Volontaires de Saint-Domingue by Bob Lapierre

This book relates the participation of the  “Chasseurs Volontaires de Saint-Domingue’’, now Haiti, in the siege of Savannah in 1779. There were recruitment of more than five hundred men who helped fight in the American revolution war.

I Am Dutty Boukman: I’m the Haitian Revolution by Amina Phelps

Published in 2020, this book relates the story of Dutty Boukman, a former slave of the colony of Saint-Domingue, today’s Haiti, who was an early leader of the Haitian Revolution.

Makandal: The Black Messiah by Frantz Derenoncourt

Makandal tells the story of a young black man kidnapped from his village in Africa to be enslaved in Saint-Domingue, however, his quest is to free all slaves from their masters. First, he escapes his plantation and starts the most effective rebellions of the 18th Century.

Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture by Sudhir Hazareesingh

Toussaint Louverture became the leader of the Saint Domingue colony’s Black population, confronting barriers and emerging as the most charismatic and black superhero of his era.

The Haitian Revolution and the Early United States: Histories, Textualities, Geographies by Elizabeth Maddock Dillon and Michael Drexler (Editors)

From the publisher: The Haitian Revolution and the Early United States explores the relationship between the dramatic events of the Haitian Revolution and the development of the early United States. The Haitian Revolution and the Early United States explores the relationship between the dramatic events of the Haitian Revolution and the development of the early United States.

The Black Republic: African Americans and the Fate of Haiti by Brandon R. Byrd

According to the publisher, author Brandon R. Byrd, explores the ambivalent attitudes that African American leaders in the post-Civil War era held toward Haiti, the first and only black republic in the Western Hemisphere. Following emancipation, African American leaders of all kinds–politicians, journalists, ministers, writers, educators, artists, and diplomats–identified new and urgent connections with Haiti, a nation long understood as an example of black self-determination. 

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois

This book highlights the social and racial inequalities of its time. DuBois, a civil rights activist and sociologist whose father spent time in Haiti and was himself an ambassador to Haiti. His signature book was an important work that shaped Black history then and is still relevant today.

Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica by Zora Neale Hurston

The author delivered a resourceful book on beliefs, Vodou practices, superstitions from Haiti and Jamaica in 1938. As an anthropologist, her work in this book and personal experiences allow us to understand what Vodou represents in these countries.

Feb. 17, 2021

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