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This chapter recovers the performances of Saint Domingue’s refugees who fled the slave uprisings and acted out their relationship to Haiti on professional American stages. The Haitian Revolution’s refugees also appeared as stage characters in original plays such as John Murdock’s 1795 The Triumphs of Love, which reimagined refugees as refined but unfortunate figures, integrating them into American culture by differentiating them from comic but rebellious slaves.
This chapter traces the socio-economic dimensions of rights development in the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804). The author argues that, in the context of this revolution, which began with a revolt against slavery but became an anti-colonial struggle for independence, the conceptual separation of civil and political rights, on the one hand, and socio-economic rights, on the other, makes little sense. The story of the birth of the world’s first black republic reveals the co-dependency of socio-economic rights and citizenship rights in a struggle for liberation and dignity. The intertwined nature of citizenship and socio-economic justice is examined across several documents, including the 1801 Constitution of Saint-Domingue and the 1805 Imperial Constitution of Haiti, as well as other texts written by the revolutionaries themselves. The chapter suggests that, rather than date the advent of socio-economic rights to the twentieth century, historians should look for the socio-economic stakes of prior struggles over civil and political rights and the ways in which certain protagonists in those struggles tried to suppress them.
This essay explores the legacy and afterlife of François Macandal, a man who escaped enslavement on an eighteenth-century plantation in the French colony of Saint-Domingue. His fame as a poisoner and immortal rebel persist over time and space, reflecting transcaribbean associations of fetish making with spiritual and physical resistance on the plantation. Stories of Macandal and the fetish objects he crafted, also called macandals, continued to circulate in nineteenth-century Louisiana as one of many narratives of slave uprising and Revolution in the Americas. One example of the reach of Macandal’s story is the 1892 novel, Le Macandal: Épisode de l’Insurrection des Noirs à St. Domingue, published in New Orleans, Louisiana, by Marie-Joséphine Augustin. This work is part of a larger archive of how Macandal and his macandals shaped the literary realm. His story moves across genres arguing that Macandal is simultaneously the man, the fetish object, and the story in its many forms.
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