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Historian Delves Into Haitian Revolution’s Impact on Black Culture

Book Release: Maurice Jackson

Maurice Jackson

December 17, 2009 – In a new book, historian Maurice Jackson explores the inspiration and influence of the Haitian Revolution on black nationalism, abolitionism, black socialist and revolutionary thought and Pan-Africanism.

Jackson, an associate professor of history and African American studies, co-edited African Americans and the Haitian Revolution (Routledge Press, 2010) with Jacqueline Bacon, an independent scholar based in San Diego. Through a collection of essays and primary texts written by African American academics, including Jackson and Bacon, the book showcases recent scholarship on the Haitian Revolution. The uprising, which led to the end of slavery in the nation, established Haiti as the first republic ruled by blacks.

In the book’s ninth essay, “No Man Could Hinder Him,” Jackson explains how 20th century African American cultural leaders drew inspiration from the revolution and one of its leaders, Toussaint L’Ouverture.

“Through remembrances of the revolution, the image of Toussaint passed through the prism of rebellions and, during the 20th century, its aura seeped through – subtly with [Duke] Ellington and more openly with [Charles] Mingus,” writes Jackson. “All these tributes have been embellished in the culture of African Americans, and their literature, poetry, folklore, street talk and music continue to echo with the voice of Toussaint and his compatriots.”

David Barry Gaspar, a history professor at Duke University, has written extensively on the African Diaspora. He says the new offers fresh insight and opens up many windows into the role of the “historically fascinating and extremely complex” way the Haitian Revolution has shaped the African Diaspora.

“The chapters and documents presented in this edited volume deliver the goods in rich abundance as promised in its title – deeply probing exploration of important connections between people of African descent in the United States of America and the history and legacy of the Haitian Revolution,” Gaspar says.

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