“My Urgent Plea to American and European Historians and Scholars Who Write About the Haitian Revolution and Haiti’s National History”

“My Urgent Plea to American and European Historians and Scholars Who Write About the Haitian Revolution and Haiti’s National History”

Sometimes, I find myself very worried, annoyed, and even upset when American or European historians and scholars recommend works on the Haitian Revolution make no reference to works written by Haitian historians or thinkers. Most contemporary American historians who write about the Haitian Revolution have a good command of the French language and are familiar with the works of Haitian historians on the Haitian Revolution who wrote in French, including Valentin Pompée de Vastey, Thomas Madiou, Céligny Ardouin, Joseph Saint-Rémy, Alfred Auguste Nemours, Horace Pauleus Sannon, Ernst Trouillot, Jean Fouchard, Timoléon C. Brutus, etc.

Please stop it!
Stop silencing works written by Haitian writers!
Give them Credit in your work!
Interact with their ideas and writings!
Do not Ignore Them!
Acknowledge their contribution to knowledge and to what you now know about your subject matter–even when you are teaching and writing in English!

That should be the attitude of a collaborative and honest historian, thinker, or scholar.

****More often, the contemporary studies in English about the story of the Haitian Revolution is arguably a recapitulation of what Haitians historians have already written about how their ancestors gained their freedom, delivered themselves from the yoke of slavery, and founded the Republic of Haiti. I know some people will call me arrogant by voicing my opinion on this crucial matter; if you are well-versed in Haitian revolutionary studies in French, you will probably confirm my statement.

Also, would you make it an intellectual habit when you write about Haiti in general or discuss Haiti’s national history in public or in your classroom, would you include Haitian scholars in your conversation and acknowledge their contribution. Interact with them in your scholarship, and do not ignore their work!

Blessed Black History Month!


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