Skip to content

A mini Doctrine on Helping Haiti

From one of my favorites.

The Rev. Gérard Jean-Juste, Champion of Haitian Rights in U.S., Dies at 62

From the New York Times…

Father Jean-Juste came to prominence in the late 1970s as director of the Haitian Refugee Center in Miami, where he became a vocal advocate of Haitians seeking asylum in the United States.

Read the full article here.

Call for Submissions – Journal of Haitian Studies

The Journal of Haitian Studies is a interdisciplinary refereed journal dedicated to scholarship on Haiti, including the arts, the sciences, and the humanities.


Most issues cover a broad range of topics and articles are accepted year round. Special issues on science, education, women, and spirituality are planned for the future. Right now, we are encouraging informed perspectives on the election process in Haiti for the forthcoming issue. The deadline for consideration for this issue is December 21, 2005.


Submissions should be roughly 4000-6000 words, and may be written in English, French, Kreyol, or Spanish. This is a juried publication, so your submitted article receives a careful review. You can request to see the comments of the (anonymous) readers.


Complete submission guidelines are available on the Journal’s web site: http://omni.ucsb.edu/cbs/publications/johs.html.


Articles (sent as attachments) or inquiries may be sent to johs@cbs.ucsb.edu.

Contacting Louverture Films

We’ve received several comments to this post requesting information on how to contact Danny Glover and Louverture Films. We have no contacts at that organization, but since there’s been such keen interest, I thought I would share a few thoughts.


In general, the best way to approach companies you want to work for is to find a personal contact — a friend of a friend, even — who knows someone at the place in question. The second best way is to write a personal letter or make a phone call and request an informational interview. The art of getting a foot in the door and conducting an informational interview is covered extremely well in Richard Bolles’ What Color is Your Parachute? I recommend that book highly for anyone seeking a position or association with a company.


Film companies don’t generally accept unsolicited material, and looking at their contact page, it would seem that Louverture Films is no exception. However, the FAQ page on the Louverture Films site offers some pretty clear guidelines on how to make contact with them. Be sure to read it.


For the most part, sending unwanted mail to a prospective producer makes you look unprofessional, so don’t do it. If you are a screenwriter with a property to shop around, get yourself a writers’ agent.


Finally, if you really want to work anywhere, but especially for small, specialty-oriented companies, you should be persistent yet respectful, and you should always emphasize what you have to offer, rather than what you hope to gain.


Good luck!

Toussaint’s Clause

The prolific Professor Corbett has posted a review of Gordon Brown’s Toussaint’s Clause: The Founding Fathers and the Haitian Revolution.


The book looks at the influence of Haiti on early American foreign policy. From Amazon’s book description:

In its formative years, America, birthplace of a revolution, wrestled with a volatile dilemma. John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and many other founding fathers clashed. What was to be the new republic’s strategy toward a revolution roiling just off its shores?

From 1790-1810, the disagreement reverberated far beyond Caribbean waters and American coastal ports. War between France and Britain, the great powers of the time, raged on the seas and in Europe. America watched aghast as its wealthy trading partner Haiti, a rich hothouse of sugar plantations and French colonial profit, exploded in a rebellion led by former slave, Toussaint L’Ouverture.

“Toussaint’s Clause: The Founding Fathers and the Haitian Revolution” narrates the intricate history of one of America’s early foreign policy balancing acts and one of the nation’s defining moments. The supporters of Toussaint’s rebellion against France at first engineered a bold policy of intervention in favor of the rebels. But Southern slaveholders, such as Jefferson, eyed the slave-general’s rise and masterful leadership skills with extreme alarm and eventually obtained a reversal of the policy—- even while taking advantage of the rebellion to make the fateful Louisiana purchase.

Far from petty, the internal squabbles among America’s founders resolved themselves in delicate maneuvers in foreign capitols and on the island. The stakes were mortally high—- a misstep could have plunged the new, weak and neutral republic into the great powers’ global war. In “Toussaint’s Clause”, former diplomat and ambassador Gordon S. Brown details the founding fathers’ crisis over Haiti and their rancorous struggle, which very often cut to the core of what America meant by revolution and liberty.

Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and Haitian History

Our hearts go out to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. For those who care to donate, I have added a link to the American Red Cross at the top right of this blog. For those missing loved ones or looking for further information about the aftermath of the storm, Rex Hammock’s Weblog has a list of survivor/missing databases, and a wiki, ThinkNOLA has been set up as a clearinghouse of information and resources.


There are also several blogs and other online sources who are providing information. Nola.com has been an excellent resource. Also check out Metroblogging New Orleans, Kaye’s Hurricane Katrina Blog, the Hurricane Katrina page at Wikipedia, Eye of the Storm, Storm Digest, and the links here and here.


While much of the Gulf Coast has been affected by Katrina, New Orleans in particular has been the subject of intense focus. The city’s history is inextricably linked with Haiti’s own. The port of New Orleans was coveted by American traders in the late 1700s as the revolution in Haiti was being fought. Toussaint Louverture’s successes against the French troops attempting to retake the island contributed to Napoleon’s decision to sell the Louisiana Territory to the United States in 1803. You can read more about the dynamics at play in the Louisiana Purchase in this article at the Louverture Project wiki.


Carl A. Brasseaux at the University of Louisiana’s Center for Cultural and Eco-Tourism points out that:


Haitian immigrants have established a significant community in New Orleans over the past two decades. These emigrants from Hispañola are by no means the first to reach Louisiana. During a six-month period in 1809, approximately 10,000 refugees from Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) arrived at New Orleans, doubling the Crescent City’s population. Approximately one-third of the refugees were white, an additional one-third were free persons of color, and the remaining one-third were slaves (primarily domestics). The vast majority of these refugees established themselves permanently in the Crescent City.


The early nineteenth-century immigrants had a profound impact upon New Orleans’ development. Refugees established the state’s first newspaper and introduced opera into the Crescent City. They also appear to have played a role in the development of Creole cuisine and the perpetuation of voodoo practices in the New Orleans area. More importantly, they were responsible for preserving the city’s French character for several generations.


This article at Slate attempts to explain why New Orleans came to be built where it is, below sea level and surrounded by massive levies. Some are asking whether New Orleans should be rebuilt. I can only imagine that those who ask that have never visited the city. There is a certain kind of magic there, and an undeniably unique sense of history. For all Americans, and especially the Haitian American residents of New Orleans, the city must survive and rebuild. To lose the Big Easy would be to lose a part of our soul, and to destroy a vital link between Haiti and America.

Haiti Documentary “Unfinished Country” on PBS September 6

Set your TiVos now for the new WIDE ANGLE documentary “Unfinished Country” on PBS, Tuesday, September 6th, at 9 p.m. (ET). The film will trace the country’s struggle to organize a democracy amidst lawlessness, natural disaster, and poverty.


More details are available from Yahoo!News. The WIDE ANGLE home page is here.

Best of Creole 2005 Contest

The major reason I’m so chagrined about being so behind on my blogging is that I’ve missed telling you about the “Best of Creole 2005 Contest.” The Louverture Project has teamed with with Eastern Digital Resources to offer a prize for the best history-related submission to the Creole-language contest. Here’s the blurb


There’s only 1 month left in our Best of Creole 2005 Contest. We are looking for articles, short stories, history essays, poetry – whatever you would like to submit in Creole. We have received a number of submissions already, but there’s still time to submit yours. The deadline is Aug. 31, 2005.


The winning submission will receive a $100 U.S prize.


The best history related submission will receive a $75 prize sponsored by our co-sponsor, The The Louverture Project


The top 12 to 15 submissions will be published in the Best of Creole, 2005.


Details are on our web site.


You’ve still got a couple of weeks to get your entries in, so head on over to the web site and submit your entry!

Haiti Revolutionary Symbolism?

Kathleen Hulser, Public Historian for the New York Historical Society recently sent an email to the Haiti list asking for help.


For an exhibition comparing revolutions in Saint Domingue, France and United States, I am interested in learning about the material culture and visual imagery from the revolt in Haiti. We are particularly seeking images that show Erzulie/Erzili/Mary figure as a revolutionary “muse” comparable to Marianne (France) and Columbia (US). Syncretic Christian and voodoo versions are of interest as well.


If you can help out Ms. Hulser, please leave a comment or click on the “Contact” link above to send me an email, and I’ll put you in touch.

Apologies

This poor blog has had to take a backseat to other more pressing issues lately. I apologize to those who have been checking in and seeing nothing more than a blank page. I’ll have a post or two to post shortly. I suppose you can still expect intermittent blogging for the time being, but the main focus for me is the wiki at any rate, so please head over there, read through, and add any knowledge or insight you may have.


(I have had a run of wiki spam lately, so drop me an email if you see anything that doesn’t look right.)