[act-ma] 6/17 Honoring Haitian Hero Toussaint Louverture - Art Exhibition at the Boston Copley Library

Charlie Welch cwelch at tecschange.org
Mon Jun 16 07:49:55 PDT 2014

The Boston Public Library has an exhibition on The Soul of a Man: 
Toussaint Louverture & the Haitian Slave Revolts from June 17th through 
September 30th. Also, there will be a panel discussion and slideshow on 
Tuesday, June 17th at 6:30 pm in the Radd Lecture Hall.

     Toussaint Louverture and the New England Abolitionist Movement

Toussaint Louverture was born a slave in the French colony of 
Saint-Domingue (now Haiti) in 1743. Although he had no formal education 
or military training, Louverture became a brilliant, tactical general 
who once won seven battles in seven days. As a leader of the armed 
resistance against colonization and slavery, Louverture proved a seminal 
influence on the future of a free Haiti.  When Louverture wrote, “I may 
have been born a slave, but nature gave me the soul of a man,” he 
inspired generations of black slaves seeking independence from the 
chains of bondage.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Rabb Lecture Hall
Central Library in Copley Square
700 Boylston Street
Boston MA 02116

Panelists will discuss Haitian Revolution leader Toussaint Louverture’s 
historical impact and his influence on the abolitionist movement and 
popular culture in the United States—particularly New England and 
Boston—during the nineteenth century and beyond.

Exhibition hours: Monday—Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday, June 17 – Tuesday, September 30, 2014

This exhibition draws from the Boston Public Library’s important 
collection of Haitian and West Indies materials 
<http://archon.bpl.org/?p=collections/controlcard&id=46> containing 
10,000+ books and manuscripts.

     The Soul of a Man: Toussaint Louverture & the Haitian Slave Revolt

Exhibition hours
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday, June 17 – Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Central Library, Copley Square
  (Rare Books Lobby)

This exhibition draws from the Boston Public Library’s important 
collection of Haitian and West Indies materials containing 10,000+ books 
and manuscripts.

  JEBCA Editions


Il revient désormais à nous, Haïtiens, de raconter notre Histoire. Mais, 
prêtons ces quelques lignes de Spencer St. John pour exposer un peu le 
caractère de ceux qui aimablement l ont écrite pour nous. N était-ce les 
exigences de l' Histoire en tant que science, le nom de ce fossoyeur de 
Grands Hommes n' eut même pas mérité d être connu de nos enfants, mais 
nous nous sentons obligés d'exposer aux lecteurs l'ambiguïté d'esprit de 
ce civilisé. Ainsi, il parla:

...Parmi les nombreux héros, dont les actions les Haïtiens aiment à 
célébrer, Toussaint-Louverture ne tient pas un rang élevé, et pourtant 
la conduite de ce noir était remarquable au point de presque confondre 
ceux qui déclarent le nègre une créature inférieure incapable de 
s'élever au génie. L'Histoire, fatiguée d'insister sur la petitesse des 
passions des autres fondateurs de l'indépendance d'Haïti, pourrait bien 
se tourner vers une grande figure de cette guerre cruelle. Toussaint est 
né sur l'habitation Breda dans le département du Nord, et était un 
esclave de naissance, il a été mis en doute s'il était un nègre de race 
pure. Son grand-père était un prince africain, mais si on en juge par 
les portraits, il n'était pas du type nègre pur. Nègre pur ou non, il ne 
fait aucun doute de l'intelligence et de l'énergie de l'homme...

Spencer St John
Consul représentant la Grande Bretagne en Haïti de 1863 à 1871
     Wordsworth's Sonnet on Toussaint


By William Wordsworth

TOUSSAINT, the most unhappy man of men!
Whether the whistling Rustic tend his plough
Within thy hearing, or thy head be now
Pillowed in some deep dungeon's earless den;
O miserable Chieftain! where and when
Wilt thou find patience? Yet die not; do thou
Wear rather in thy bonds a cheerful brow:
Though fallen thyself, never to rise again,
Live, and take comfort. Thou hast left behind
Powers that will work for thee; air, earth, and skies;
There's not a breathing of the common wind
That will forget thee; thou hast great allies;
Thy friends are exultations, agonies,
And love, and man's unconquerable mind.

Wordsworth, William. 1888. Complete Poetical Works.
     Toussaint L'Ouverture

Excerpt from a lecture delivered by Wendell Phillips
December 1861, in New York and Boston

Toussaint L'Ouverture

.... I would call him Napoleon, but Napoleon made his way to empire over 
broken oaths and through a sea of blood. This man never broke his word. 
“No RETALIATION” was his great motto and the rule of his life; and the 
last words uttered to his son in France were these: “My boy, you will 
one day go back to St. Domingo; forget that France murdered your 
father.” I would call him Cromwell, but Cromwell was the only soldier, 
and the state he founded went down with him into his grave. I would call 
him Washington, but the great Virginian held slaves. This man risked his 
empire rather than permit the slave trade in the humblest village of his 

You think me a fanatic tonight, for you read history, not with your 
eyes, but with your prejudices. But fifty years hence, when Truth gets a 
hearing, the Muse of History will put Phocion of the Greek, and Brutus 
for the Roman, Hampden for England, Fayette for France, choose 
Washington as the bright, consummate flower of our earlier civilization, 
and John Brown the ripe fruit of our noonday, then, dipping her pen in 
the sunlight, will write in the clear blue, above them all, the name of 
the soldier, the statesman, the martyr, Toussaint l’Ouverture.


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