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Black History in the Diaspora: Bookman Dutty and Jean Jacques Dessalines, Part two

By Charles A. Grantham

Presented by Omni-University

Jean Jacques Dessalines

"On the savanna, there lived a pride of lions and not too far away lived a herd of gazelles. As the sun rose one morning, a lioness woke up and prepared to go hunting. But before she went, the lioness prayed that she would have the good fortune to catch a gazelle for her and her cubs to eat.

On the other side of the savanna, not far from where the lioness was, a gazelle was also waking up. The gazelle prepared to go out and graze. But before she went out, she also prayed. The gazelle asked that she be granted the speed, agility and good fortune to be able to graze and then return home safely to her family." [1]

By the time Toussaint was installed as the Commanding General of the armies by the French Government, he had reconstructed the conditions and positions of all of the Island's inhabitants. While no longer slaves, per se, the African masses would still be bound to their former plantations. The major differences were that they would now be paid for a portion of the crops they produced and rather than being punished by the owners and managers of the plantations; they could now be punished only by the government; and, significantly, the Free Mulattos , who had previously been restricted to wearing only rings on their bare feet, were now given permission to wear shoes- just like their oppressors. Another major "Reform", imposed by Toussaint, was his governmental encouragement of the Christian religion. Parents were admonished to teach their children "good morals" by instructing them in the Christian religion and the fear of the Christian God [7] Recognition of Voodun or any other practice of African Spirituality was strictly prohibited. Dessalines, who was still on the scene and fighting alongside Toussaint, was nevertheless still aligned with the vision and objectives of Bookman Dutty. Yet, although they had been gaining military ground against the French, Toussaint decided to negotiate with them. He let it be known to the French (surreptitiously) that he was still loyal to the French Republic. After negotiations had been completed, his request for a "Peace Treaty" was accepted. For his pronounced loyalty to the French, he was repaid with a dinner invitation by one of the French Generals. From there, he was kidnapped and taken back to France where he was imprisoned, tortured and later starved to death. Toussaint had succumbed to the "Phantom of Liberty". He had believed that his former and avowed French enemy would accept him- a former "slave"- as an equal. Upon Toussaint's disappearance, Dessalines- with the assistance of the Blacks and Free Men of Color- assumed the leadership and continued the war for independence. He abandoned the French slogan of "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity" and took a stand more consistent with Bookman's: "Let us swear to the whole world, to ourselves, to renounce France forever, and to die rather than live under its dominion-to fight till the last breath for the Independence of our country." [2] It should come as no surprise-after this brief summary of the events that led to the eventual independence of Haiti- that neither Bookman nor Dessalines are immediately identified with the Haitian Revolution. Unlike Toussaint, who chose to cast his lot - and that of his kinsmen -with the "Phantom of Liberty", Dessalines and Bookman had confidence in, and followed, the African Principle... "which should always guide our actions". The last words belong to Dessalines, The General in Chief to the People of Haiti, who said in the "Proclamation for A Solemn Abjuration of the French Nation" Liberty or Death!-Native Army, January 1, 1804: "Citizens,

"It is not enough to have expelled from your country the barbarians who have for ages stained it with blood-it is not enough to have curbed the factions which,succeeding each other by turns, sported with a phantom of liberty which France exposed to their eyes. It is become necessary, by a last act of national authority, to ensure forever the empire of liberty in this country which has given us birth. It is necessary to deprive an inhuman government, which has hitherto held our minds in a state of the most humiliating turpitude, of every hope of being enabled again to enslave us. Finally, it is necessary to live independent or die. Independence or Death! Let these sacred words serve to rally us, let them be signals of battle and our reunion..." [3] Editor's Note:

Although most accounts of the history of The Haitian Revolution assign the credit, primarily, to Ancestor Toussaint L'ouverture for vanquishing the French Imperialists, the truth of Black History in the Diaspora must be restored. Let us never forget the Ancestors, chief among them, Priest Bookman Dutty and Jean Jacques Dessalines, who dedicated their lives to the total Liberation of the Land and People of Haiti. It has been the Intellectual Warriors among us, Ancestor Priest Dr. Jacob H. Carruthers, "Jedi Shemsu Jehewty", and others who have dedicated their scholarship to this mission.

You are urged to view "Haiti and Her Diaspora", an H3O Art of Life Show", Featuring Janine Raymond and Dr. Ludovic Comeau, Jr. Please like, study, and share on your social media or by any means available to you.

BlogNotes :Part Two [1] Folktale of Kenya, East Africa told to Charles A. Grantham [2] Dessalines' speeches translated into English by Marcus Rainsford in "An Historical Account of the Black Empire of Hayti (London, 1805) [3] Ancestor Dr. Jacob H. Carruthers, " The Irritated Genie: An Essay on the Haitian Revolution " (Published by The Kemetic Institute).

Recommended Reading Ancestor Dr. Jacob H. Carruthers , "The Irritated Genie"( Published by The Kemetic Institute)

Ancestor Jacob H.Carruthers, "Intellectual Warfare" (Published by Third World Press, 1999) Charles A. Grantham, "The Battle for Kemet"(Published by The Kemetic Institute).

Ancestor Dr. John Henrik Clarke, " "Toussaint L'Ouverture and the Haitian Revolution". Presence Africane. No.89, Paris,1974, pp.179-187 Diop, Cheikh Anta , "The Cultural Unity of Black Africa", Chicago) (Published by Third World Press, Chicago, 1978; The English edition was originally published by Presence Africane in 1963).

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