Earlier this year, Haitian-American author Frantz Derenoncourt, Jr. published Haiti: The First Black Republic, a book about the remarkable story of the Haitian Revolution.
Discussions about Haiti tend to focus on modern ills rather than the courage displayed by the individuals who confronted seemingly impossible odds to secure their freedom. It’s great to see a book that can help shift the contemporary narrative about such a resilient nation.
Books like Haiti: The First Black Republic, are crucial to fostering cultural pride because they demonstrate how Haitians shaped the history of the western hemisphere. Kids young and old can draw inspiration from the labours of Haitian historical figures to overcome their own personal obstacles, and create a new paradigm for Haitians today, wherever they live.
More broadly, we can draw parallels between the struggles of Haitians of yesterday with current socio-political movements. It’s hard to tell how the proverbial story will end when faced with the collossal levels of suffering served to us daily. Learning about this chapter in Haiti’s history reminds us that, while the struggle for justice is a gruelling process that may only yield fruit in the distant future, we can be sure that well-organized efforts do not go to waste. This wisdom can help alleviate some anxiety about the future of humanity and offer some solace, if not hope.