Bastion of the Dispossessed: The Free People of Color's Fluid Identities Across the Haitian Revolution
1 online resource (95 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Take a step back in time to the western half of the island named Saint Domingue in the 1780s, a place we now call Haiti. In 1785, the island produced more sugar and coffee than any other colony in the western hemisphere. French colonial administrators created a hierarchy of political inclusion based on racial categories. One category of subject on the island, the Gens de Couleur Libres or Free People of Color, had never existed as a single cohesive unit—thanks in part to racist French policies. Free Coloreds resisted their exclusion from equal rights, but often owned slaves and excluded other blacks. Finally, the French Revolution put a match to this powder keg of racist hegemony and transformed Free Coloreds’ allegiance to the metropole. The French Revolution provided Free Coloreds with the language they needed to challenge their previous exclusion, and colonial society progressively broke down after 1789. This thesis traces the Free Coloreds’ sense of exclusion from the colonial period through the Haitian Revolution, analyzing its influence on nation building. The Free Coloreds never lost their French culture, yet developed an anti-European identity based on liberty and race rather than cultural unity. The Free Coloreds’ unique colonial position eventually encouraged them to support revolution, put them in a position to participate in post-revolutionary nation-building, and finally triggered internal political conflict—partly causing Haiti’s initial failure to create a unitary national identity.
GENS DE COULEUR LIBRESHAITIHAITIAN REVOLUTIONSAINT DOMINGUE
Germain, FelixEdwards, Erika
Thesis (M.A.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2015.
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s). For additional information, see http://rightsstatements.org/page/InC/1.0/.
Copyright is held by the author unless otherwise indicated.