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Jean-Jacques Dessalines 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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A man dressed as independence hero Jean-Jacques Dessalines in Port-au-Prince,

Haiti was the first nation to permanently ban slavery

By Reparations

Why this matters today. By Julia Gaffield, The Washington Post — Global protests in support of Black Lives Matter have systematically exposed the legacies of slavery and colonialism today. This has put many on the defensive. White people are quick to tout stories of abolition, emphasizing the path bravely forged by imperial powers like Britain and France. They diminish the realities and consequences of slavery and colonialism by demanding gratitude for ending…

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The coronation of King Henry

Inside the Kingdom of Hayti, ‘the Wakanda of the Western Hemisphere’

By Editors' Choice

By Marlene Daut, University of Virginia — Marvel’s blockbuster “Black Panther,” which recently became the first superhero drama to be nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award, takes place in the secret African Kingdom of Wakanda. The Black Panther, also known as T’Challa, rules over this imaginary empire – a refuge from the colonialists and capitalists who have historically impoverished the real continent of Africa. But fans of the box-office hit might not…

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Jean-Jacques Dessalines

Meet Haiti’s Founding Father — His Black Revolution Was Too Radical for Thomas Jefferson

By Reparations

Modern scholarship is reexamining Haiti’s founding father. Julia Gaffield, The Conversation — Crowds cheered as local lawmakers on August 18 unveiled a street sign showing that Rogers Avenue in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn would now be called Jean-Jacques Dessalines Boulevard, after a Haitian slave turned revolutionary general. When Dessalines declared Haiti’s independence from France in 1804 after a 13-year slave uprising and civil war, he became the Americas’ first black head…

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Haitian-Americans and local residents gathered for the celebration that unveiled Jean-Jacques Dessalines Boulevard, in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Street Is Renamed in Flatbush, to Joy and Controversy

By News & Current Affairs

By Jeffery C. Mays, The New York Times — Stephania Casimir, a first-generation Haitian-American, remembers her parents talking about Jean-Jacques Dessalines, a former slave who became one of Haiti’s founding fathers, but not all of the details. They came flooding back on Saturday on a street corner in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn as speakers explained why a stretch of Rogers Avenue was being co-named in honor of Dessalines, who declared…

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