“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: Jacob Lawrence, “In many of the communities the Negro press was read continually because of its attitude and its encouragement of the movement,” (1940-41): Museum of Modern Art.