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The Standing on the Shoulders of Giants "Teach & Learn" Black History Curriculum​​

Specially designed for Parents, Teachers, Homeschool, or Independent Study, grades 5+

Where Black
History Lives!​

Unit 3: The African Holocaust (Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade) (1502 – 1860s)

Unit 3, Class 6: The Haitian Revolution (1791 – 1804)

People To Know
Jean-Jacques Dessalines  (September 20, 1758 - October 17, 1806 Pont-Rouge, Haiti) was born as a slave and later became a leader of the Haitian Revolution and an Emperor of Haiti (1804–1806 under the name of H.I.M. Jacques I, Emperor of Haiti). 
He was crowned with his wife 2 at the Church of Champ-de-Mars on October 8, 1804. Without Dessalines the Haitian Revolution could not have been successful.

Documentary: Egalite for All: Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution 

STUDY QUESTIONS (also in Study Guide)

1. According to the documentary, why was the Haitian Revolution one of the most profound revolutions initiated in world history?  
2. Haiti was the world leader in the production of which commodity?  
3. What was "rational management"? 
4. How did Toussaint L'Ouverture's background influence his involvement in the revolution? 
5. What role did Vodou (widely referred to as "Voodoo") play in the Haitian Revolution? 
6. Which country did Napoleon conquer during the time of the French and Haitian Revolutions? 
7. According to Napoleon, what was the primary motivation behind his invasion of Haiti in 1802?  

Praise for Dessalines
"A handsome, 'red-skinned' Negro from Senegal 1, fearless in the field and unscrupulous off it." (Parkinson, p. 67)

"In a battle near Cape François, Rochambeau took five hundred black prisoners, and put them all to death the same day. Dessalines, hearing of this, brought five hundred white prisoners in sight of the French, and hung them up, so that the cruel monster could see the result of his own barbarous example. (Wells-Brown p. 112)

"Nearly all historians have set him down as a bloodthirsty monster, who delighted in the sufferings of his fellow-creatures. They do not rightly consider the circumstances that surrounded him, and the foe that he had to deal with." (Wells-Brown p. 111)

"Insofar as we can talk intelligibly about a caste system in post-colonial Haiti, Dessalines was it's adversary." (Nicholls, p. 39)

On declaring independence, Dessalines is reported to have created the Haitian flag by tearing out the white out of the French tricolor. The Haitian national anthem La Dessalinienne is named in Dessalines honor.


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