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Shebeencounter

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MikeDunnAuthor , to bookstadon group
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Today in Labor History August 22, 1791: Encouraged by the French and American revolutions, Toussaint Louverture led over 100,000 Haitian slaves in a revolt against the French. They were ultimately successful, making Haiti the first black republic in the world. The US refused recognition of Haiti until 1865, as a result of pressure from Southern slaveholders. The French demanded $21 billion In today’s dollars) in reparations for the losses to the former slaveholders, in exchange for peace and recognition of Haiti as an independent nation. The debt was financed through French banks and the U.S. bank, Citibank. The Haitians finally paid it off in 1947. However, the huge interest payments for their independence debt, and the debt incurred through the corruption of the Duvalier dynasty, have made Haiti one of the poorest nations in the western hemisphere. Prior to independence, Haiti was the richest and most productive of all of Europe’s colonies.

The best book I’ve read on the Haitian Revolution is “The Black Jacobins,” by Trinidadian socialist C.L.R. James. Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier explores the revolution in his novel, “The Kingdom of This World” (1949). You can read more about Toussaint Louverture and the slave uprising in Madison Smartt Bell’s trilogy called “All Souls' Rising” (1995) and Isabel Allende’s 2010 novel, “Island Beneath the Sea.”

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Shebeencounter ,
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@MikeDunnAuthor @bookstadon cosign on Black Jacobins. Book absolutely leveled me.

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