Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Haiti...My Take On It

When I started to research the history of Haiti I found out some things I did not know. I was surprised that the native people of Haiti were Indian. However, like many un/underdeveloped nations at the time, Europeans sought to destroy them, rediscover their land, change their culture and annihilate the inhabitants of the land. It sickens me that in this day and age people still celebrate Christopher Columbus. Do they still our children that Columbus “discovered” America? I sure hope not. That is brain washing …pure and simple. In my mind Columbus was murderous thief. Native Americans are still not given the respect that is due to them. They are called Indians. Now is it me or is it a fact that Indians are from India. But it is known that Mr. Columbus was lost when he “found” America and thought he was in India so he called the Native Americans Indians and they name has stuck with them for hundreds of years.

I was also appalled that black people (they were mixed) owned slaves in Haiti. They like their white counterparts did not want slavery to end. Yes their mothers were slaves and because their father was white and rich they were born free but still mistreated. It is amazing how we as black people can allow outside forces to manipulate our minds and turn us against our own kind. But it has been going on since our ancestors arrived on this land.

So much has happen to the people of Haiti and they managed to survive each time. They are strong people and they will get though this. The world is coming to their aid and I am sure the Haitian Diaspora will not let their homeland down. The hairs stand up on the back of my neck each time someone is found in the rubble. Yesterday they found a little girl that had been buried 13 days but she managed to survive! Keep Haiti in your prayers and if you are able to contribute or donate please do so

Peace and Love

Thursday, January 21, 2010

History of Haiti - Part 5

Part 5

On May 20, 1802, Napoleon signed a law to maintain slavery where it had not disappeared, Martinique, Tobago, and Saint Lucia. A confidential copy of this decree was sent to Leclerc, who was authorized to restore slavery when the time was opportune. At the same time, further edicts stripped the gens de couleur of their newly won civil rights. None of these decrees were published or executed in St. Domingue, but, by midsummer, word began to reach the colony of the French intention to restore slavery. Convinced that the same fate lay in store for Saint-Domingue, these commanders and others once again battled Leclerc. Intent on re-conquest and re-enslavement of the colony's black population, the war became a bloody struggle of atrocity and attrition. The rainy season brought yellow fever and malaria, which took a heavy toll on the invaders. By November, when Leclerc died of yellow fever, 24,000 French soldiers were dead and 8,000 were hospitalized, the majority from disease.

Afterwards, Leclerc was replaced by Donatien-Marie-Joseph de Vimeur, vicomte de Rochambeau. Rochambeau wrote to Napoleon that, in order to reclaim Saint-Domingue, France must 'declare the negroes slaves, and destroy at least 30,000 negroes and negresses.'[9] In his desperation, he turned to increasingly wanton acts of brutality; the French burned alive, hanged, drowned, and tortured black prisoners, reviving such practices as burying blacks in piles of insects and boiling them in cauldrons of molasses. One night, at Port-Républican, he held a ball to which he invited the most prominent mulatto ladies and, at midnight, announced the death of their husbands. However, each act of brutality was repaid by the Haitian rebels. After one battle, Rochambeau buried 500 prisoners alive; Dessalines responded by hanging 500 French prisoners.[10] Rochambeau's brutal tactics helped unite black, mulatto, and mestizo soldiers against the French.

As the tide of the war turned toward the former slaves, Napoleon abandoned his dreams of restoring France's New World empire. In 1803, war resumed between France and Britain, and with the Royal Navy firmly in control of the seas, reinforcements and supplies for Rochambeau never arrived in sufficient numbers. In order to concentrate on the war in Europe, Napoleon signed the Louisiana Purchase in April, selling France's North American possessions to the United States. The indigenous army, now led by Dessalines, devastated Rochembeau and the French army at the Battle of Vertières on November 18, 1803.

Jean Jacques Dessalines became Haiti's first emperor in 1804.
On January 1, 1804 Dessalines then declared independence, reclaiming the indigenous Taíno name of Haiti ("Land of Mountains") for the new nation. Most of the remaining French colonists fled ahead of the defeated French army, many migrating to Louisiana or Cuba. Unlike Toussaint, Dessalines showed little mercy with regard to the whites. In a final act of retribution, the remaining French were slaughtered by Haitian military forces. Some 2,000 Frenchmen were massacred at Cap-Français, 800 in Port-au-Prince, and 400 at Jérémie. He issued a proclamation declaring, "we have repaid these cannibals, war for war, crime for crime, outrage for outrage."[11]
Despite the Haitian victory, France refused to recognize the newly independent country's sovereignty until 1825, in exchange for 150 million gold francs. This fee, demanded as retribution for the "lost property"--ie, slaves--of the former colonialists, was later reduced to 90 million. Haiti agreed to pay the price so that a crippling embargo imposed by France, Britain and the United States would be lifted. But in order to do so, the Haitian government had to take out high interest loans. The debt was not repaid in full until 1947.[12

Upon assuming power, General Dessalines authorized the Constitution of 1804. This constitution, in terms of social freedoms, called for:
1. Freedom of Religion (Under Toussaint, Catholicism had been declared the official state religion);
2. All citizens of Haiti, regardless of skin color, to be known as "Black" (this was an attempt to eliminate the multi-tiered racial hierarchy which had developed in Haiti, with full-blooded Europeans at the top, various levels of light to brown skin in the middle, and dark skinned "Kongo" from Africa at the bottom).
3. White men were forbidden from possessing property or domain on Haitian soil. Should the French return to reimpose slavery, Article 5 of the constitution declared: "At the first shot of the warning gun, the towns shall be destroyed and the nation will rise in arms."[13]

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

History of Haiti Part 4

Part 4

The outbreak of revolution in France (radical change to based on Enlightenment principles of citizenship and inalienable rights) in the summer of 1789 had a powerful effect on the colony. While the French settlers debated how new revolutionary laws would apply to Saint-Domingue, outright civil war broke out in 1790 when the free men of color claimed they too were French citizens under the terms of the Declaration of the Rights of Man (was a fundamental document that established fundamental rights for French citizens and all men without exception, it addresses neither the status of women nor slavery;)

In Paris, a group of wealthy mulattoes, unsuccessfully petitioned the white planter delegates to support mulatto claims for full civil and political rights. Through the efforts of a group called Société d'Amis des Noirs,. In March 1790 the National Assembly granted full civic rights to the gens de couleur.

Vincent Ogé traveled to St. Domingue to secure the promulgation and implementation of this decree, landing near Cap-Français (now Cap-Haïtien) in October 1790 and petitioning the royal governor, the Comte de Peynier. After his demands were refused, he attempted to incite the gens de couleur to revolt. They attempted to attack Cap-Français. However, the mulatto rebels refused to arm or free their slaves, or to challenge the status of slavery, and their attack was defeated by a force of white militia and black volunteers .Afterwards, they fled across the frontier to Hinche, at the time in the Spanish part of the island. However, they were captured, returned to the French authorities, and were executed in February 1791

On August 22, 1791, slaves in the northern region of the colony staged a revolt that began the Haitian Revolution. The call to arms was issued by a Houngan (Vodou priest) named Dutty Boukman. Within hours, the northern plantations were in flames. The rebellion spread through the entire colony. Boukman was captured and executed, but the rebellion continued to spread rapidly.

In 1792, Léger-Félicité Sonthonax was sent to the colony by the French Legislative Assembly as part of the Revolutionary Commission. His main goal was to maintain French control of Saint-Domingue, stabilize the colony, and enforce the social equality recently granted to free people of color by the National Convention of France.
On August 29, 1793, Sonthonax took the radical step of proclaiming the freedom of the slaves in the north province (with severe limits on their freedom). In September and October, emancipation was extended throughout the colony. On February 4, 1794 the French National Convention ratified this act, applying it to all French colonies

The slaves did not immediately flock to Sonthonax's banner, however. White colonists continued to fight Sonthonax, with assistance from the British. They were joined by many of the free men of color who opposed the abolition of slavery. It was not until word of France's ratification of emancipation arrived back in the colony that Toussaint Louverture and his corps of well-disciplined, battle-hardened former slaves came over to the French Republican side in early May 1794.

Toussaint led enslaved Africans and Afro-Haitians to victory over French colonisers,, abolished slavery, and secured "native" control over the colony, Haiti, in 1797 while nominally governor of the colony, he expelled the French commissioner Léger-Félicité Sonthonax, as well as the British armies; invaded Santo Domingo to free the slaves there; and wrote a Constitution naming himself governor-for-life that established a new polity for the colony.

In 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte sent a massive invasion force under his brother-in-law Charles Leclerc. For a time, Leclerc met with some success. With a large expedition that eventually included 40,000 European troops, and receiving help from white colonists and mulatto forces, the French won several victories after severe fighting. Two of Toussaint's chief lieutenants, Dessalines and Christophe, recognizing their untenable situation, held separate parleys with the invaders, and agreed to transfer their allegiance. At this point, Leclerc invited Toussaint to negotiate a settlement. It was a deception; Toussaint was seized and deported to France, where he died of pneumonia while imprisoned

Monday, January 18, 2010

History of Haiti - Part 3

Part 3

Spanish interest in Espanola began to wane in the 1520s, as more lucrative gold and silver deposits were found in Mexico and South America. Thereafter, the population of Spanish Espanola grew slowly. Fearful of pirate (buccaneers) attacks, the king of Spain in 1606 ordered all colonists on Espanola to move closer to the capital city, Santo Domingo. The decision backfired, as British, Dutch, and French pirates then established bases on the island's abandoned northern and western coasts

In 1664, the newly established French West India Company took control over the colony, which it named Saint-Domingue, and France formally claimed control of the western portion of the island of Espanola. In 1670 they established the first permanent French settlement on the mainland of Espanola, Cap François (later Cap Français, now Cap-Haïtien).

Under the 1697 Treaty of Ryswick, Spain officially ceded the western third of Espanola to France. By that time, planters outnumbered buccaneers and, with the encouragement of Louis XIV, they had begun to grow tobacco, indigo, cotton, and cacao on the fertile northern plain, thus prompting the importation of African slaves. Slave insurrections were frequent and some slaves escaped to the mountains where they were met by what would be one of the last generations of Taíno natives. After the last Taíno died, the full-blooded Arawakan population on the island was extinct.

Prior to the Seven Years' War (The Seven Years' War was a major military conflict that lasted from 1756, as a result of the French and Indian War that erupted in North America in 1754, ), the economy of Saint-Domingue gradually expanded, with sugar and, later, coffee becoming important export crops. Saint-Domingue became known as the "Pearl of the Antilles" – one of the richest colonies in the 18th century French empire. By the 1780s, Saint-Domingue produced about 40 percent of all the sugar and 60 percent of all the coffee consumed in Europe. This single colony, roughly the size of Maryland or Belgium, produced more sugar and coffee than all of Britain's West Indian colonies combined

However, the inability to maintain slave numbers without constant resupply from Africa meant the slave population, by 1789, totaled 500,000, ruled over by a white population that, by 1789, numbered only 32,000.[3] At all times, a majority of slaves in the colony were African-born, as the brutal conditions of slavery prevented the population from experiencing growth through natural increase[4]. African culture thus remained strong among slaves to the end of French rule, in particular the folk-religion of Vodou, which commingled Catholic liturgy and ritual with the beliefs and practices of Guinea, Congo, and Dahomey.[

To regularize slavery, in 1685 Louis XIV enacted the Code Noir, which accorded certain human rights to slaves and responsibilities to the master, who was obliged to feed, clothe, and provide for the general well-being of their slaves. The code noir also sanctioned corporal punishment, allowing masters to employ brutal methods to instill in their slaves the necessary docility, while ignoring provisions intended to regulate the administration of punishments.

Saint-Domingue also had the largest and wealthiest free population of color in the Caribbean, the gens de couleur (French, "people of color"). The mixed-race community in Saint-Domingue numbered 25,000 in 1789. First-generation gens de couleur were typically the offspring of a male, French slaveowner and an African slave chosen as a concubine

As numbers of gens de couleur grew, the French rulers enacted discriminatory laws. Statutes forbade gens de couleur from taking up certain professions, marrying whites, wearing European clothing, carrying swords or firearms in public, or attending social functions where whites were present. However, these regulations did not restrict their purchase of land, and many accumulated substantial holdings and became slave-owners. By 1789, they owned one-third of the plantation property and one-quarter of the slaves of Saint-Domingue

History of Haiti - Part 2

The Crown (Spanish Government) thought it was best to sent over Nicholas Ovando in to pick up where Columbus left off. He brought with him 2500 Spaniards, who rushed to the gold mines no sooner than they had arrived. The close contact between large number of Europeans and native workers provided a propitious environment for diseases to set in Europeans brought with them chronic infectious diseases that were new to the Caribbean, to which the indigenous population lacked immunity. These new diseases were the chief cause of the dying off of the Taíno,[5] but ill treatment, malnutrition, and a drastic drop in the birthrate as a result of societal disruption also contributed. The boom in the mining of gold in Espanola was short-lived. The decline in the supply of gold paralleled the decline in population. The Spaniards soon left the island for the richer lands of Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Cuba. Upon Ovando’s retirement in 1509, Columbus’s son Diego Columbus became governor of Espanola.

One of the main consequences of the invasion of the New World was the genocide of the Taino on Espanola. Indeed, the introduction of small pox, measles, whooping cough, bubonic plague, typhoid, influenza, Malaria, and yellow fever wiped out an important section of the Taino population whose immune system was not accustomed to those diseases The main factor in the Taino population reduction directly results from Spanish obsession for gold and the establishment of the Encomienda and the Repartimiento, which destroyed the rhythm of their lives, and their social structure. The Taino family structure was broken up as the men were sent to work on gold mines all over the island. They suddenly faced the obligation to spend most of their day working for a master whose cruelty and punishments were swift and justified by greed. Malnutrition quickly developed and the Taino suffered from protein deficiency and overwork. Another factor was the deliberate cruelty the Spaniards displayed towards the Indians. In their inexorable march for conquest in the island, the Spanish destroyed and burned entire villages

The treacherous massacre of the Taino of Xaragua was one of the most cruel and complete mass killings of Taino on the island.
An Indian chief who was being executed was about to be baptized. The priest promised him that if he did get baptized, he would go to paradise. He asked the priest:Are there any Spaniards in your heaven?. The priest responded that only good ones go to heaven. At those words, the chief refused the baptism retorting that even the best one of them is worth nothing; I do not want to go to any heaven where I stand to meet one

The population timidly surged upward between 1510 and 1520 due to the importation of Indians from the Bahamas by the Spaniards in a desperate attempt to palliate the inexorable loss of the original Haitians. The Taino population thus increased from 61,600 in 1509 to 65,800 in 1510 and again, from 26,700 in 1512 to 27,800 in 1514.

Friday, January 15, 2010

History of Haiti- Part 1

When I heard about the earth quake in Haiti I must admit I did not think much about it. I was not drawn to the television nor did it ever occur to me to give a donation. Once I saw the pictures of the people rising out of the rubble, dead bodies on the street and the immense suffering the human side of me was jolted. I wondered how a nation full of black people could be suffering so much and it takes a catastrophic situation like an earthquake for the rest of the world to pay attention. So I’ve set out to learn as much about Haiti as I can. I would like you to go on this journey with me. Surely if we can indulge our brains into the latest gossip we can actually learn about a people so closely tied to our (African Americans) story.

The orginal natives of Haiti were the Arawak/Taino Indians. On December 5 or 6 1492 a fateful wind led Christopher Columbus to the island of Haiti that he renamed Espanola thinking that it looked like Spain. The head chief welcomed Columbus. But of course Columbus took the natives kindness for weakness and knew he had to come back. The purpose of Columbus’s second voyage was to colonize, control and exploit the island. His goal was to bring to the Spaniards as much gold as they need...and as many slaves as they ask. His fleet thus comprised 17 ships and 1,300 men as well as 20 horsemen to terrorize the native people.

When Columbus returned to Espanola (Haiti), he found that the thirty men he had left on the Navidad (one of his ships) were all dead, killed by the Indians (original natives of Haiti). The men were killed because they chose to use the native women for their sexual pleasure.

Columbus built many forts and once he discovered gold he launched a war against the natives. During that time thousands of Indians were killed while protecting their land. By the end of 1494 the Taino were in open revolt. Columbus had hoped to put down the resistance by kidnapping Caonabo the chief of the Cibao region and making an exemplary spectacle of him.

Columbus sent troops to occupy the north east of the island and had more forts built in the Cibao region. He immediately instituted a system requiring a quarterly tribute in gold from the Taino, which was calculated according to the number of people over the age of fourteen. He introduced Indian slavery suggesting that it would be lucrative enough to compensate for the meager supply of gold found. In 1495, he and his men went on a raid in the interior of Espanola (Haiti) capturing as many as fifteen hundred Taino, men, women and children. Columbus picked the 500 best specimens and sent them to Spain. Two hundred of these five hundreds Taino died en route to Spain. Columbus’s reaction was to exclaim: Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold.

Villages that could not pay the tribute imposed on the Taino were brutally repressed. On July 22, 1497 the Crown (Spanish government) authorized the distribution of lands to the Spanish colonists (Repartimiento) to sow grain and plant gardens. This land was designed to encourage permanent Spanish settlers in Espanola who were expected to establish small farms with Spanish labor. Columbus on the contrary instituted a Repartimiento where native communities were allocated to Spaniards for their own use. This system was the first concrete measure to colonize and annihilate the Taino population of Espanola (Haiti).

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Foot In Mouth Disease

I was reading the Chicago Tribune online and came across the article with the headline Blagojevich: 'I'm blacker than Obama'. Of course I was intrigued and read the article.

In the article Blagojevich states “I’m blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little laundromat in a black community not far from where we lived. I saw it all growing up”

OOOOOOOOOOOkay and that makes you black? Why does this man consider living a hard life makes him black? Many ethnic groups …including whites have lived through hard times. Blagojevich only need to travel to "Little Arizona," home of Chicago's trailer park, if he needs an example of poor white people. It disturbs me that the former Governor identification of black is living in a cramped house in a bad neighborhood. If this statement represents his theory on what it means to be black, I can only assume that to be white would mean working high paying jobs, living in an affluent community and a low level exposure to violence.

I guess it was the black side of him that made him attempt to sell the Senate seat huh. No it was the black side that made him do illegal things to hook his wife up with a job. GTFOH…..

Blagojevich .......please do not confuse your diluted, uneducated, low level thoughts of black culture with the reality of what being black really means. And trust and believe you will never be blacker than Obama, his skin still requires him to work twice as hard to get half the recognition it takes for a white man doing the same job, and he is the PRESIDENT! Imagine what your average Tyone Davis must face everyday.

Tip…. Blagojevich go some where and sit down. Try to stay out of jail and live a low key life. The more you talk the stupider you

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Happy New Year! Wow this year came in like a lion and brought plenty of cold weather. But I am happy to see 2009 end because it had truly been a bumpy year. Have you thought about what you would like to enhance or change this New Year? I love that the New Year brings thoughts of change, renewal, refreshing and revitalization. Of course I have a resolution but I am hoping that it translates into a lifestyle change. One of the things I would like to do is think more positively. I don’t know when I became such a pessimistic person. It is so unattractive…literally and physically. It has been said that you are what you say and if I keep focusing on the negative side of life I can expect more unnecessary drama.

People life is too short and too hard to invite unwanted drama into our space. 2009 brought many challenges and difficulties and sadly I played a huge role in my own stress. This is the year that I am letting it all go. If it works fine…if not then it will be vanquished from my life. There are going some team cuts and others will be told how I appreciate the value they add to my life. If you know me personally and I did not bring value to your life please cut me loose…because I will be doing the same! There will be no love lost and no hard feelings. It’s best to know when your season is up than to stay too long and suffer the consequences.

I won’t be changing too much but I will be listening to God and will be listening to the direction that he wants me to take in my life. People and their opinions of me will no longer give credence to my own personal beliefs or feelings. I hope to open myself up more to give love and become a recipient of love. I want peace, joy and happiness to surround me. Yes I will still be sassy and offer thought provoking outlooks on pop culture and other crazy things. But please don’t take my word as the final word and use what you need and throw away what you don’t.

I hope that 2010 be a year of abundance, many opportunities, renewed thoughts, new love, new friendships, spiritual awaking and forgiveness.