|Let your positive healing energies flow over us all as we work to restore Haiti.
Much has been said about Haiti and its
historical context. In order to understand the history of Haiti and the importance of the Haitian
Revolution when Haitian people proclaimed their independence on January 1, 1804, everyone
should begin reading and studying about Haiti. We must do this in
preparation for the long struggle that will take place to rebuild this beautiful
country of African people.
At this time, with the multitude of challenges facing our
brothers and sisters, we must lift
up our spirits and continue, with a
vengeance, the great work that is
needed to restore Haiti.
Far too many African people are unfamiliar with the significance of Haiti, the Haitian Revolution, and
its impact on the world. Far too much misinformation is being spread about Haiti and its
history. ***The Irritated Genie: An Essay
on the Haitian Revolution, written by
our esteemed ancestor, Dr. Jacob H. Carruthers, made a profound contribution to the significance
and implications of this event in the history of African people in the world.
Brother Jake, as we affectionately called him, was one of the leading African Centered Scholars in
the world. His book, The Irritated Genie,
is one of the most definitive books on the Haitian
Brother Jake spent much of
his time, over a forty year period, probing the 18th and 19th century Black
Nationalist tradition and the leading thinkers, scholars, and organizers who represented this tradition. Out
of this study and research, Jake
produced the most incisive analysis in his book on the Haitian Revolution and
its implications for our on-going struggle.
Since the 19th century, both Black and white scholars have written
extensively about the Haitian Revolution, which
began in the summer of 1791 and ended in the fall of 1803. However, most white scholars have relegated the Haitian
Revolution as an “isolated event” and have interpreted its meaning in the
framework of white supremacy of the western world order.
In this same context, the Black scholars who have written on this
subject have suffered from the same problem - the problem of accepting a
European framework in their efforts to describe the essence and meaning of the
great African Revolution which took place in Haiti.
addressed the concept of the “Irritated Genie” and what it meant to the Haitian
people who rose up and defeated the so-called great military powers of the era
- England, France, and Spain.
Haiti, an island in the Caribbean,
is where millions of imported, kidnapped
Africans were used by the European slave trading nations to supply their labor
needs in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. As Dr. Carruthers
writes, “On August 22, 1791 thousands of slaves crudely armed with stolen
weapons, various tools and torches, overran and destroyed most of the plantations and
besieged the towns of Northern Saint Dominique, the
most prosperous European colony in the world at that time.”
In his book, Brother Jake informs us that “this well planned, sustained offensive was the culmination of nearly
three centuries of periodic Black rebellions against the European settlers.”
For three centuries the crime of being Black was punished by torture, rape, and murder.
The significance of the
Haitian Revolution is revealed by Brother Jake in pointing out that the African
people of Haiti successfully
defeated the top military powers of that day - Napoleon and his French military
might, Britain, and Spain. Many people are aware of the
role Toussaint L`Overture played in the Haitian
Revolution, but Dr. Carruthers unveils very clearly and concisely the
leadership of General Jean Jacques Dessalines and Bookman Dutty.
In The Irritated Genie, Dr.
Carruthers points out that the Haitian Revolution “is
perhaps the most underemphasized war in what is called modern history.” The
fact that many African people are more inspired “by the Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Cuban revolutions than the one truly Black
revolution in modern history” is the reason all African people need to read this
Many people will probably
be quick to ask the question, “If
the Haitian Revolution was so great, why
in the shape it is today?” I must remind you that Haitian people were in need
and struggling before this devastating earthquake.
answers this question in the following manner: “For three centuries the crime
of being Black was punished by torture, rape, and murder. Dessalines erased that crime by
executing all of those he would find who had committed the atrocities - the true
criminals. That is why the Haitian personality is so strong today even though
most of the leaders sold them down the river after the fall of Dessalines.”
was the founder of the Kemetic
Institute and professor at the Carruthers Center
for Inner City Studies (CCICS) of Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) in Chicago, where he developed as one of the most gifted
intellectuals and scholars in the African world. Any one of hundreds of
students who took his classes at CCICS, or
people who heard his numerous community or conference lectures will agree that
Dr. Jacob H. Carruthers was a profound African Deep
As we look to the days
ahead, we must fortify ourselves.
Read The Irritated Genie, lift up your spirit and let your positive healing
energies flow over us all as we work to restore Haiti.
Columnist, Conrad W. Worrill, PhD, is the
National Chairman Emeritus of the National Black United Front (NBUF). Click here to contact Dr. Worrill.