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Beyond the Slave NarrativePolitics, Sex, and Manuscripts in the Haitian Revolution$
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Deborah Jenson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781846314971

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846316517

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Before Malcolm X, Dessalines: Postcoloniality in a Colonial World

Before Malcolm X, Dessalines: Postcoloniality in a Colonial World

(p.81) 2 Before Malcolm X, Dessalines: Postcoloniality in a Colonial World
Beyond the Slave Narrative
Liverpool University Press

The literature produced in Haiti from the 1804 independence onward was postcolonial, maintaining its anticolonial sentiments and sometimes leaning towards future regional decolonisations. Despite its dominant themes of human subjugation in a racialised context, situating the slave narrative in the context of colonial or postcolonial dynamics is problematic. Nevertheless, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, relying on the mechanisms of journalistic media in the United States, issued his independence proclamations that circulated in the same settings in which the slave narrative was being produced. This chapter examines the ‘Black Atlantic’ or ‘postcolonial’ forms of rhetoric used by Dessalines and his secretaries, looks at the forces that were threatening the Haitian independence, and considers how Dessalines can be legitimately viewed as a voice of early nineteenth-century postcolonialism. It also compares Dessalines's ideology concerning violence with Malcolm X's objective of ‘complete freedom, justice, and equality by any means necessary’.

Keywords:   Haiti, independence, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, proclamations, Black Atlantic, postcolonialism, Malcolm X, freedom, violence, slave narrative

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