“The book was a pictorial, intellectual, subversive experiment in thinking through a black kingdom—the one Aponte and his companions were seeking to create, the one modeled by contemporary Haiti, by historical Ethiopia.”
“After the U.S. Occupation, Haitian radicals felt that the nineteenth century cycle had ended. Marxism, surrealism, and a renewed noiriste discourse fueled that hope.”
“Q: Rep. Waters claims Aristide was led away in handcuffs by US Marines, that they were part of a coup to remove him. Rumsfeld: (Laughs.)”
“I contend that we don’t know what many religious groups and other charities are really doing in Haiti.”
“Dessalines was my muse, the impetus for my work: the fondateur so reviled by the West that no historian wrote about him except to denigrate him.”
“Privileging the spiral – as form, as idea – above politicized notions of blackness or Haitianness, Frankétienne, Fignolé, and Philoctète all very pointedly refuse anything that might smack of a fetishization of the folkloric or the so-called primitive in their writing.”
“My hope is that one day Haiti will be under the radar like Barbados or St Lucia, that it will not be the destination of choice either for thrill seekers or bleeding hearts.”
“I think we’re at the beginning of a great flowering of work on Dessalines: it’s time to move beyond the more familiar portraits of him and really engage seriously with him as a major Atlantic political figure and thinker.”
“When I mentioned that the Americans had stopped Haiti’s client president’s salary, Munro was incredulous. I gave him an unimpeachable source, and he confessed that when he himself was doing research on the occupation and had come across a document detailing coercion of Haitian politicians, he couldn’t believe it, but when he looked at the bottom of the page he found his own signature!”
In the spring of 2012, The Public Archive began running a series of interviews with historians, writers, photographers, filmmakers and activists who work on Haiti, the Caribbean, and the Black World.
Watch out for more.
Image: Power figure (Nkisi N’Kondi: Mangaaka): The Metropolitan Museum of Art