THE HAITIAN REVOLUTION AND THE IRRITATED GENIE

By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (October 10, 2002)

 

 

            African Centered scholars, researchers, and activists, throughout the African World Community, are preparing to commemorate, in 2004, the 200th Anniversary of the Haitian Revolution when Haitian people proclaimed their independence, January 1, 1804.

            One of the ways African people can begin preparing for the commemoration of this historic period in African history is to read and study the Haitian Revolution. Far to many African people are unfamiliar with the significance of the Haitian Revolution and its impact on the world.

            In Chicago, the Kemetic Institute will present a special lecture and book signing of Dr. Jacob H. Carruthers’ book, The Irritated Genie: An Essay on the Haitian Revolution, Saturday, October 26, 2002 at the Woodson Regional Library, 95th & Halsted at 10:00 a.m. This lecture will be free and open to the public.

            Brother Jake, as we affectionately call him, is one of the leading African Centered Scholars in the world and his book, The Irritated Genie, is one of the most definitive books on the Haitian Revolution.

            Brother Jake has spent much of his time over the last forty years probing the 18th and 19th century Black Nationalist tradition and the leading thinkers, scholars, and organizers who represented this tradition. Out of this study and research, Jake produced the most incisive analysis in his book on the Haitian Revolution and its implications for our on-going struggle.

Since the 19th century, both Black and white scholars have written extensively about the Haitian Revolution that began in the summer of 1791 and ended in the fall of 1803. However, most white scholars have relegated the Haitian Revolution as an “isolated event” and have interpreted its meaning in the framework of white supremacy of the western world order.

            In this same context, the Black scholars, who have written on this subject, have suffered from the same problem— the problem of accepting a European framework in their efforts of describing the essence and meaning of this great African Revolution that took place in Haiti.

            Dr. Carruthers will address the concept of the “Irritated Genie” in this lecture and what it meant to the Haitian people who rose up and defeated the so-called great military powers of that era— England, France, and Spain.

            Haiti is an island in the Caribbean where millions of imported kidnapped Africans were used by the European slave trading nations to supply their labor needs in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. As Dr. Carruthers writes, “On August 22, 1791 thousands of slaves crudely armed with stolen weapons, various tools and torches, overran and destroyed most of the plantations and besieged the towns of Northern Saint Dominique, the most prosperous European colony in the world at that time.”

            In his book, Brother Jake informs us that “this well planned, sustained offensive was the culmination of nearly three centuries of periodic Black rebellions against the European settlers.”

            The significance of the Haitian Revolution is revealed by Brother Jake in pointing out that the African people of Haiti successfully defeated the top military powers of that day— Napoleon and his French military might, Britain, and Spain. Many people are aware of the role of Toussaint L`Overture played in the Haitian Revolution, but Dr. Carruthers unveils very clearly and concisely the leadership of General Jean Jacques Dessalines and Bookman Dutty.

            In The Irritated Genie, Dr. Carruthers points out that the Haitian Revolution “is perhaps the most underemphasized wars in what is called modern history.” The fact that many African people are inspired “by the Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Cuban revolutions than the one truly Black revolution in modern history” is the reason all African people need to read this book.

            Many people will probably be quick to ask the question, “If the Haitian Revolution was so great, why is Haiti in the shape it is today?”

            Dr. Carruthers answers this question in the following manner: “For three centuries the crime of being Black was punished by torture, rape, and murder. Dessalines erased that crime by executing all of those he would find who had committed the atrocities— the true criminals. That is why the Haitian personality is so strong today even though most of the leaders sold them down the river after the fall of Dessalines.”

            Dr. Carruthers is the founder of the Kemetic Institute and a Professor Emeritus at the Center for Inner City Studies (CICS) Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, where he developed as one of the most gifted intellectuals and scholars in the African world. Any one of the hundreds of students who have taken his classes at CICS, or people who have heard his numerous community lectures will agree that Dr. Jacob Carruthers is a profound African Deep Thinker!

            Read The Irritated Genie and come out to the lecture!

 
National Chairman
National Black United Front (NBUF)


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