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Abolish Slavery Archives - Institute of the Black World 21st Century

Jean-Jacques Dessalines

Who was Jean-Jacques Dessalines and Why Does He Matter Now?

By Haiti Support Project (HSP) Posts, Reparations

By Julia Gaffield— Today is Haitian Independence Day, the anniversary of the revolution that defeated French colonialism. On January 1, 1804, Haiti became the second independent country in the Americas and the world’s first nation to permanently abolish slavery. But today is also a time to remember Jean-Jacques Dessalines, a military leader, politician, and a long-neglected hero of the Revolution who actually declared Haitian independence. Born enslaved in Saint-Domingue (Haiti’s colonial…

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