Egalite for All: Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution

 

For more on this topic, you can listen to the audio lecture, by Paul Foot, titled The Haitian Slave Revolt or you can purchase a copy of the most famous scholarly work on the topic C.L.R. James’s Black Jacobins (more books on Haiti).

The Haitian Revolution

Even if you have been watching Democracy Now’s outstanding coverage of the Haitian tragedy, the despicable neglect with which the United States and other rich countries have treated the disaster-struck nation, you still can’t fathom the depth of outrage the Haitians feel unless you put it into the context of its tortured history. Here is an excellent overview from C. S. Soong’s Against the Grain.

It was a cataclysmic event, the first and only successful slave revolution in the Americas. In 1791 brutally exploited slaves on a small Caribbean island rose up and eventually won emancipation. Their story, a legacy that has inspired and instructed people and nations for centuries, is told in Laurent Dubois’s Avengers of the New World.

The Haitian Slave Revolt

paulfootThe following is an illuminating lecture by Paul Foot on the Haitian slave revolt where he challenges the perception that British goodwill ended slavery. The lecture is based on C.L.R. James’ classic study The Black Jacobins. There is also an excellent documentary on this topic titled Egalite for All: Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution.

Paul Foot – The Haitian Slave Revolt of 1791 (57:27): MP3

Paul Foot vividly describes how the most successful slave revolt in history, which began in 1791, came to be closely allied to the events of the French Revolution and how each in turn influenced the other.

Taking self-emancipation as his main theme, Foot also challenges the idea that it was William Wilberforce, the British Tory MP and factory owner, that brought about the abolition of the most brutal and systematic regime of bondage and exploitation.

Continue reading “The Haitian Slave Revolt”