The Haitian Revolution - A short Reading List (of Anglophone scholars)
"More than two hundred years after Haitian independence was declared on January 1, 1804, it remains a challenge to perceive the spirit that fueled the first abolition of slavery in the New World and gave rise to the second independent nation in the Americas. As recently as ten years ago, the Haitian Revolution (1789-1804), which created “Haiti” out of the ashes of French Saint Domingue, was the least understood of the three great democratic revolutions that transformed the Atlantic world in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. That is no longer true. In the decade since the 2004 bicentennial, a genuine explosion of scholarship on the Saint-Domingue revolution has profoundly enriched our memory of what Hannah Arendt, in her comparative study of the American and French revolutions, called “the revolutionary tradition and its lost treasure”. It is not clear to what extent this development has affected broader public understandings of the Haitian predicament, however."
Conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas uses photography to explore issues of identity, history, race, and class. For this series, photo-derived sculptures have been cast in aluminum, silicone and bronze to reframe the original historical image by focusing on the impact of hand gestures.
In June 1970, Miles Davis played four nights at New York’s rock palace Fillmore East—following earlier appearances that year, there and at San Francisco’s Fillmore West. Four sets of that June music are now out in full for the first time. Jazz Critic Kevin Whitehead says, the jazz trumpeter had gone to the Fillmore in search of a new audience:
It messed jazz people up, the music Miles Davis made in 1970, like the four sets recorded that June now issued complete on “Miles at the Fillmore.” Two years earlier he’d been leading one of the most beloved jazz bands ever—the one with Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock. Then he went electric. Instead of playing jazz clubs, now he was playing tokids who came out to hear the rock bands he split bills with. As one of those rock kids who saw Miles at the Fillmore in 1970, I gotta admit, the music was too weird for me. But later I could not stop thinking about it.
"The people of South Africa have resisted European control since the Dutch and British began invading in the 17th century. In some parts of South Africa, they fought European control until the end of the 19th century. In spite of colonial efforts, Zululand remained free until 1880. In 1879 in a strong show of resistance, a Zulu army under the leadership of King Cetshwayo at Isandhlawana defeated a force of 8,000 European soldiers, killing 1,600. This was the single greatest defeat suffered by the British in all their colonial endeavors in Africa and Asia.”
I am not a metaphor or symbol. This you hear is not the wind in the trees. Nor a cat being maimed in the street. I am being maimed in the street It is I who weep, laugh, feel pain or joy. Speak this because I exist. This is my voice These words are my words, my mouth Speaks them, my hand writes. I am a poet. It is my fist you hear beating Against your ear.