The first I would to summarize and discuss is an lecture on Haiti released on January 2nd of 1893 from the book “Haiti: A Slave Revolution”, which was released a 2004 and is a collection of essays, lectures, or all around academic look into the history of Haiti 200 years after they revolted and became a nation. This lecture is given by Fredrick Douglass, who was once the US ambassador to Haiti and in the lecture, he details what he learned about Haiti’s culture, history, and customs. The lecture also clears some American misconceptions about the country of Haiti.
Being first with culture, Douglass notes that Haiti’s culture is similar to America, particularly around politics. Douglass notes that Haiti has an elected president and that Haiti’s government is republican in form, much like in the US. Douglass although notes that Haiti is much closer to Europeans economically and culturally due to Haiti being a former colony to France. Douglass also notes that the vast majority of Haitians are Roman Catholic and that they are very religious people, which Douglass notes as ironic because they got this religion through the Spanish, people who were deeply religious but extremely Un-Christian by their actions trying to get converts and enforcing slavery. Douglass also clears up misconceptions that America has on Haiti, such as a wide spread practice of evil tendencies like cannibalism and voodoo. Douglass attacks these claims but stating that they are used as attacks by Whites as a way of trying to bring the country down or trying to show that a country ruined by former slaves will lead to such outcomes. At the end of the lecture Douglass ends with a note about Haiti’s fight against Napoleon army and how he gave in during the year of 1803 and allowed Haiti to become its own free state.
Why do I think this source is important and could help with the video project me and my partner are doing on Chapter 3: Citizenship and Rights in the New Republics? I would argue that this source provides a view of Haiti, the country that inspired slave revolts all over Latin America, from the American prospective, especially from a historical figure like Fredrick Douglass. His details about Haiti’s culture, government, and history provides a way of seeing this country through positive lens rather then a negative perspective and that it relates Haiti to the history of the region and the rest of the world in general, especially its relation to Europe and the US. This look into this revolutionary country through the eyes of a powerful African-American figure will provide a more balanced look into this country’s foundations and what ideals it stood for and what it caused in other countries in Latin America.