Hayti: In Context



Let the Ancestors Speak:

From A Vindication of the Capacity of the Negro Race for Self-Government, and Civilized Progress, as Demonstrated by Historical Events of the Haytian Revolution; and the Subsequent Acts of that People Since Their National Independence
James T. Holly (1857)


"Our Brethren of Hayti, who stand in the vanguard of the race have already made a name, and a fame for us, that is as imperishable as the world's history. They exercise sovereign authority over an island, that in natural advantages is the Eden of America, and the garden spot of the world. Her rich resources invite 10,000,000 human beings to adequately use them. It becomes then an important question for the Negro race in America to well consider the weighty responsibility that the present exigency devolves upon them, to contribute to the continued advancement of this Negro nationality of the New World until its glory and renown shall overspread and cover the whole earth, and redeem and regenerate by its influence in the future, the benighted Fatherland of the race in Africa."

From The Irritated Genie: An Essay on the Haitian Revolution
Dr. Jacob Carruthers (Jedi Shemsu Jehewty, Maa Kheru)

"The Irritated Genie of Haiti was called forth during the celebration of Ogun's ceremony on August 14, 1791. Ogun was the personification of the Voodun Spirit of Warfare and Iron. The event took place in a forest near what at that time was called Cape Francois, the national capital. Bookman (as he was generally known) who was a Voodun priest, planned the launching of the revolution with Ogun's celebration in keeping with the time tested tradition among African people that human events must be coordinated with cosmological forces and ancestral spirits. The revolution, this, had its roots in the African Worldview."

From Walter Rodney Speaks: The Making of an African Intellectual
Walter Rodney


"I have had a rare privilege of traveling around and living and working with black people in a lot of contexts. This has sensitized me to ways in which we need to understand the specificity of different situations. To talk about Pan-Africanism, to talk about international solidarity within the black world, whichever sector of the black world we live in, we have a series of responsibilities. One of the most important of our responsibilities is to define our own situation. A second responsibility is to present that definition to other parts of the black world, indeed to the whole progressive world. A Third responsibility, and I think this is in order of priority, is to help others in a different section of the black world to reflect upon their own specific experience.

The first priority is that we address ourselves to our own people -- this is how we analyze where we're at. Secondly, we can say to other participants in a Third World struggle, here is the analysis, as we see it, of how we are going. Those people will take it and they will do with it as they see fit. But if they have a certain sense of internationalism, they will treat it very seriously. They will say, this is how a people see themselves. And only thirdly then am I in a position to say, from our particular standpoint, your struggle is moving in this direction, or this is how your analysis seems to be working, or in light of our experience here or there, we might want to question this or that aspect."

From The African in the New World: Their Contribution to Science, Invention and Technology
Dr. John Henrik Clarke (Maa Kheru)


"I see no solution for African peoples, any place in this world, short of Pan-Africanism. Wherever we are on the face of this earth we are an African people. We have got to understand that any problem faced by Africans is the collective problem of all the African people in the world, and not just the problem of the Africans who live in any one part of the world. Once we put all of our skills together, and realize that between the United States, the Caribbean Islands, Brazil and other South American countries there are 150 million African people, and the population of Africa has been counted as 500 million for over fifty years, implying that the African man has been sleeping away from home, and you know that is not true.

In the 21st century there are going to be a billion African people on this earth. We have to ask ourselves, "Are we ready for the 21st century?" Do we go into the 21st century begging and pleading or insisting and demanding? We have to ask and answer that question and we have to decide if we are going to be the rearguard for somebody else's way of life, or do we rebuild our own way of life, or will we be the vanguard to rebuild our own nation.

We have to say to ourselves when we look at our history, the great Nile Valley civilization, the kind of civilizations we built on other rivers, the Niger, the Limpopo, the Zambezi, the kind of civilizations that gave life to the world before the first Europeans wore shoes or had houses that had windows. We need to say to ourselves, with conviction, that, "If I did it once, I will do it again."

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Hayti has our collective attention. Aside from those of us who feel the spiritual and cultural connection (naturally, as Africans) there is also a momentum of solidarity. Even if on the surface, many members of our community (who might not associate themselves with Hayti otherwise) are saying "Hayti Sasa! Hayti Now!" The urgency is evident.

Seems like Hayti has been a dirty word (as is Africa) for some time now, but it ALSO seems like the realization of a natural disaster (something that could happen to any group of people) has created a level of empathy that hasn't been seen recently in regard to this small, powerful island.

It is unfortunate that this tragic disaster has broken the barrier of disregard that oftentimes comes with seeing our people struggle. Still, it may open doors to some powerful changes if we take heed and act deliberately.

We see what the news is on, and its imperative as Blk folks living in the U.S. that we use this opportunity to make some statements on Hayti, stand up for Hayti, and our liberation and use the momentum to reiterate the Pan-African teachings of our Ancestors and our Elders. Because in the aftermath the vultures (disguised as help-agents and re-builders) will certainly be present, and doing what they can to take over. That has always been the plan and it is consistent with the imperialist agenda that already colonized much of the world.

So, it is our responsibility to work diligently and strategically, not allowing ourselves to be seduced by panic. For we, of all people, know about the long term effects of disaster. Our Ancestors worked tirelessly to lay the ground work for moments like this. It is imperative that we move with wisdom, with the knowledge of those who came before us, so that we may assist our Brothers and Sisters in Hayti in their struggle for self-determination.