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Feb 27, 2004

Haitian Revolution exhibit opens Monday

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It began as a tribute to the two hundredth anniversary of the Haitian Revolution, but with the current rebellion in Haiti making the headlines nightly, a new exhibit at the House of Culture may be even more meaningful to those interested in Caribbean history. This afternoon News 5 got an advanced preview of the show which examines the legacy of some astonishing black men who dared to reject the oppression of slavery and take control of their island at a time when most of the hemisphere was under the crippling control of European super powers.

Lita Krohn, Dir., Institute of Social and Cultural Research

“The Haitian Revolution spawned other movements in the Caribbean and Central America. It was the first black republic and it really shook this whole area big time.”

Froyla Salam, Institute of Social and Cultural Research

“Dessalines was very brutal. He massacred, I think it was as much as ten thousand people. And that included the white plantocracy, the white leaders, as well as mulattoes, because he didn’t see the difference between mulattoes and whites, they were all the same to him because both of those parties were willing to continue slavery.”

Lita Krohn

“Toussaint was kidnapped by the French, he was betrayed by the French. He was making peace and he was making peace and he was taken to die in the mountains of France, leaving a lot of work unfinished. Who knows what would have happened had he been allowed to continue to try to form his country. He was not racist, he knew that the planters had the knowledge; he knew that the people in Haiti had the possibility of continuing to be what used to be known as the Pearl of the Antilles. It was the richest country in the Caribbean. But it just goes to show you what can be done if you don’t toe the line or you’re different or whatever there is.”

Froyla Salam

“Dessalines and Christopher and other black generals thought that they could come to a truce with Napoleon through Declerc, and they were wrong. So the only thing they knew when he betrayed Toussaint, it was like an action that they did without considering the implications and not knowing the full truth behind Declerc’s force in Haiti.”

“Haiti: an historic exhibit about the Haitian Revolution 1789-1804″ opens on Monday at the House of Culture. The curator was Gilvano Swasey and the show is being held under the auspices of the Institute for Social and Culture Research, a branch of the National Institute of Culture and History, NICH.

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