On January 1, 1804, Jean-Jacques Dessalines—who had assumed leadership of the revolution after Toussaint L’ouverture’s 1802 capture by the French army—declared Saint-Domingue’s independence. The new republic adopted the original pre-Columbian Arawak name of Haiti, meaning “mountainous land.” The black revolutionaries, who had been fighting since 1791, had crushed Napoleon’s 43,000-man army in December 1803. Within 12 years, they had fought against and defeated not only the French colonists but also the French, Spanish, and British armies. For an army of ex-slaves to turn their rebellion into a decade-long revolution, and to defeat an entire network of empires, is stunning. Add that to Haiti’s unprecedented title of first Black republic (a political anomaly of the time), and you have quite the victory. Take today to honor the freedom fighters and the history!
On this day, 50 years ago, Frantz Fanon passed away. A psychiatrist, Pan-Africanist, writer, and revolutionary, he was born in Martinique in 1925. In 1952 he published Black Skin, White Masks, which exposed the negative effects of colonization on the mental state of subjugated peoples, and in 1961 wrote his best-known piece The Wretched of the Earth, about As a psychiatrist in Algeria, he joined the FLN (National Liberation Front), which waged a war of independence against France. In 1961, Fanon published The Wretched of the Earth, a book on decolonization that has remained a classic and influenced revolutionaries the world over, including Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, Che Guevara, and the South African Steve Biko, founder of the Black Consciousness movement. Fanon died in Maryland, where he had sought treatment for leukemia, and was buried in Algeria.
Kent State University’s Department of Pan-African Studies is hosting the conference “Slavery, Colonialism and African Identities in the Atlantic World” on April 26 and 27, 2012 in Oscar Ritchie Hall.
The keynote speaker is Sylviane Diouf, Ph.D., author of the renowned book Dreams of Africa in Alabama, which won the 2009 James F. Sulzby Award of the Alabama Historical Association, was a 2008 Finalist Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and won the 2007 Wesley-Logan Prize of the American Historical Association. She is also author of the acclaimed book Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas. Diouf is currently Curator of Digital Collections at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Her address is titled “Deconstructing and Reconstructing Africans’ Identities During Slavery.”
Conference registration is $20. Students and faculty are eligible to have the fee waived.For more information, please visit: http://www.kent.edu/CAS/PAS/conference/schedule.cfm