The Nineteenth Century
Anténor Firmin was born in Cap-Haïtien on 18 October 1850. A renowned anthropologist, politician, diplomat, and writer, Firmin remains one of the most influential figures in Haitian history. Firmin was a leading voice in the Liberal Party of the late nineteenth century. In 1883, Firmin relocated to Paris, where, with the assistance of fellow Haitian intellectual Louis-Joseph Janvier, he was accepted as a member of the exclusive Anthropology Society of Paris. It was in Paris that Firmin read Arthur de Gobineau’s notorious Essai sur l’inégalité des races humaines, inspiring him to publish a trenchant response, De l’égalite des races humaines, in 1885. Although Firmin’s essay, grounded in positivist anthropology shot through a historical lens, was disregarded by his European anthropological peers at the time of publishing, it stands out today as a remarkable work of anti-racist thought. Firmin’s life and work inspired a younger generation of Haitian writers and thinkers such as Jean Price-Mars, laying the groundwork for modern Pan-African thought. In 1902, after a failed attempt at the Haitian presidency, Firmin went into exile in St. Thomas, where he died in 1911.
The author attacks the racist thought of European anthropologists and philosophers, notably by drawing on Haitian history and literature.
This study is both a comparative history of the U.S. and Haiti and a meditation on how Haiti and Haitians should view their neighbor to the North. One of the most remarkable contributions by one of Haiti’s most important thinkers.
Ardouin’s work built on and responded to Thomas Madiou’s 8-volume, Histoire d’Haïti. In addition to extensive details about the Revolution and the first decades of independence, it reprints extensive passages from contemporary documents.
Etudes sur l’histoire d’Haïti (link to all volumes)
Bénito Sylvain was born in Port-de-Paix in 1868. After completing his primary schooling in Haiti, Sylvain moved to Paris in 1887 to finish his education. He served as the Secretary of the Legation to London from 1889-1890, after which he returned to Paris. In 1890, Sylvain created the the journal La Fraternité, which would focus on “the interests of Haiti and the Black Race). A tireless fighter of racism and colonialism, Sylvain is considered one of the architects of the burgeoning pan-African movement of the late nineteenth century.
La Fraternité: Organe des Intérets d’Haiti et de la Race Noire (178 Periodicals, 1890-1896)
La misère au sein des richesses: réflexions diverses sur Haïti (1873)
République haïtienne. Deux ans et demi de ministerre (1867)
Born in January 1848, Frédéric Marcellin entered Haitian political life at the age of 19 when he assumed the position of Secretary of the Legation to Washington D.C. In the late nineteenth century, Marcellin was a member of the National Party. Marcellin published three celebrated works from 1900-1903, the last of which was Marilisse. Marcelin died in Paris in 1917.
La Banque Nationale D’Haïti : Une Page d’Histoire (1890)
Choses Haïtiennes: Politique et Littérature (1896)
Minister of Haiti to Washington, Price discusses the recent attempt by the U.S. to acquire a Navy station at the Môle Saint-Nicolas in Haiti, and reflects more broadly on U.S-Haitian relations.
Louis-Joseph Janvier was born to a wealthy family in Port-au-Prince on 7 May 1855. After pursuing his medical training in Haiti, Janvier departed for France in 1877 to complete his studies. In 1882, Janvier became a member of the prominent Anthropology Society of Paris, an organization to which he would later introduce the Haitian anthropologist and diplomat Anténor Firmin. That same year, Janvier published “The Detractors of the Black Race and the Republic of Haiti,” which challenged racist European accounts of Haiti and its citizens. Janvier established himself as a respected essayist while in Paris, exercising a considerable influence on a younger generation of Haitian writers such as Anténor Firmin and Jean Price-Mars. Janvier died in Paris on 24 March 1911.
Phtisie Pulmonaire (1881)
Les Détracteurs de la race noire et de la république d’Haïti (1882)
Haïti aux Haïtiens (1884)
A response to Monsieur Cochinat and some other authors who had written critical portraits of Haiti. Janvier both attacks stereotypical accounts of his country written by foreign visitors and discusses the politics and society of Haiti.
Les affaires d’Haiti (1885)
A detailed constitutional and political history of Haiti.
Du Gouvernement civil en Haïti (1905)
Pauléus Sannon was born in Les Cayes on 7 April 1870. Sannon was a prominent Haitian historian. Following the assassination of caco leader Charlemagne Péralte in 1919, Sannon, along with Jean Price-Mars, Sténio Vincent, and Georges Sylvain, established L’Union Patriotique, an organization which demanded an end to the U.S. military occupation of Haiti.
Before being elected President of Haiti on 18 November 1930, Sténio Vincent was a major force in the nationalist resistance against the U.S. occupation. Elected president based largely on his nationalist credentials and promises of political change, Vincent nevertheless returned to authoritarian politics shortly after the marines departed in 1934.
Petites histoires d’Haïti (1895)
Choses et Autres (1895)
Stenio Vincent et L.C. Lhérisson
La Législation de Instruction Publique (1804-1895)
Madious work 8-volume work, Histoire d’Haïti (History of Haiti), published starting in 1847, represents the foundation of Haitian historiography. It provides copious details about the Revolution as well as the first decades of Haitian independence.
U.S. and Haitian Recognition
As Secretary of the State, John Quincy Adams recalls the reluctance of President Monroe’s cabinet for the recognition of Haiti. Pages 232-233.
As a member of Congress in 1843, John Quincy Adams again attempts to push for Haitian Recognition.
President Abraham Lincoln, in his State of the Union Address in 1861, asks Congress to recognize Haiti.
Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner lobby’s for Haitian Recognition on the Senate floor, and the debate that followed.
First official treaty between Haiti and the United States. Pages 614-626.
Speech given by Frederick Douglass at World’s Fair in Chicago, January 2, 1893. Pages 132-138.