Haiti: Markets

The famous Code Noir (Black Code) of 1685 outlawed the slave-operated markets, but the French colonists protested that they were absolutely necessary to the commerce of the colony and the French government changed the law the next year and allowed the slave-operated markets to continue.

Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, “Black Resistance in Colonial Haiti,” Black World/Negro Digest (February 1968)

Port-au-Prince possesses market buildings which are worthy of Paris in size and design, but the interior is nauseously filthy, so much so that the mass of the country people prefer to establish themselves in open-air market-places away from the great buildings erected for their use. In these open-air markets there is endless material for the painter or photographer.

Sir Harry Hamilton Johnston, The Negro in the New World (1910)

Such marketplaces are an ancient Haitian institution—before the Revolution, one of the most important, located in the colonial capital, was frequented on a good day by 15,000 slaves, buying and selling. Markets play the same role in Haiti today.

Sidney W. Mintz, “Remembering Haiti: Lessons from the Field,” The Boston Review (March/April 2010)

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