Category Archives: Race

Suppress

One way to suppress the vote, particularly of African Americans, was to require literacy tests. If you got one of the questions wrong on this test from the state of Louisiana, you would be barred from voting.

Code Noire (303/415)

An excerpt from the French Code Noire:

Article XXXIII. The slave who has struck his master in the face or has drawn blood, or has similarly struck the wife of his master, his mistress, or their children, shall be punished by death. . . .

Article XXXVIII. The fugitive slave who has been on the run for one month from the day his master reported him to the police, shall have his ears cut off and shall be branded with a fleur de lys on one shoulder. If he commits the same infraction for another month, again counting from the day he is reported, he shall have his hamstring cut and be branded with a fleur de lyson the other shoulder. The third time, he shall be put to death.

Article XXXIX. The masters of freed slaves who have given refuge to fugitive slaves in their homes shall be punished by a fine of three hundred pounds of sugar for each day of refuge.

see https://revolution.chnm.org/items/show/515

Troublesome (225)

“Revolutions have to be thorough. You spare the kids – they run off and warn your enemies. If you’re going to take that road, you’d better make up your mind to take it to the end. That is the horror of the thing. It’s all well and good to say that these killings came out of rage. I don’t doubt that to a certain extent they did, but the real horror is that even if they hadn’t, matters would have probably taken the same course. A revolution is either thorough or it’s doomed. Real revolutionaries know that, which is why they have to proceed in cold blood.” 

— Eugene Genovese from Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property

Image: Mechanical Bank (225)

mechanical bank n.d. Maker unknown. Image from artstor.org

(Note on terminology: After struggling with it awhile I opted to use the n-word once in this essay because it is literally part of the name of the object discussed. This single use of the term was placed in quotes to indicate that fact, as well as the fact that I would never use it otherwise.)

The characters and events described by Charles Chesnutt in The Marrow of Tradition give dramatic form to Black people’s experience of racist discrimination and violence during the Nadir of the Negro. Deprived of many civil rights, targeted by lynch mobs, and subjected to daily indignities, African Americans struggled to survive the Nadir as best they were able. 

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HR-ification

The HR-ification of BLM entails saying the right things while giving very little concrete, material support to the people who need it. Imagine if the focus was less on “Hire more Black admin” and more on “Abolish tuition. In fact pay students to attend school.” How many Black lives would be transformed by this kind of program?

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FA20: Haitian Revolution

WORKING

Haitian Revolution

Historiography

CLR James, The Black Jacobins

Laurent Dubois, Avengers of the New World

Gerald Horne, Confronting Blak Jacobins

Film

Gillo Pontecorvo, Burn!

Lydia Bailey (1947?)

Edward Halperin, White Zombie

doc. Egalitè for All

doc. Aristide and the Endless Revolution

Visual Arts

Kimathi Donkor, Caribbean Passion: Haiti 1804

Jacob Lawrence, The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture

Black Dawn (film)

Drama

Aime Cesaire, The Tragedy of King Christophe

Orson Welles, Voodoo Macbeth

Eugene O’Neill, Emperor Jones

CLR James, Toussaint L’Ouverture: A Play in Three Acts

Novel

Alejo Carpentier, The Kingdom of This World

Madison Smart Bell, All Soul’s Rising (Haitian Trilogy)

Leonora Sansay, Secret History, or The Horrors of Santo Domingo

Nalo Hopkins, Midnight Robber

Arna Bontemps, Black Thunder

Syl Cheney-Coker, Sacred River: A Novel

Politics/Theory/Anthropology

Susan Buck-Morss, Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History

Peter Hallward, Damming the Flood

Alfred Métraux, Voodoo in Haiti

 

 

White People/Grotesque (310/485)

If you’re interested in how people became white you can consult Nell Irvin Painter’s very interesting study The History of White People. The image below was first published during our period. Racism often relies on caricature and the use of the grotesque. Note that the figure on the right is meant to be understood as Irish. Thomas Nast’s cover illustration expresses contempt for the object of its ridicule: immigrants and freedmen.

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