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Black Women In The Haitian Revolution

Junious Ricardo Stanton

As we celebrate Women’s History Month there is not enough time and space to share the brilliant and storied legacies of African women (the true mothers of humanity and civilization) both on the continent and throughout the Diaspora. Since the Great Maafa (a Swahili word describing the African holocaust) our Sisters have been under a triple whammy of racism, male chauvinism and misogyny and scorn for centuries. It is time they received their just due as major contributors to the growth and evolution of humanity and civilization.  More information is becoming known about the marvelous achievements of African Queen Mothers and Queens who ruled on the throne serving their people  for thousands of years  but much more needs to be researched, discovered and shared.

The fact of the matter is, everywhere we find African people, we discover examples of nurturing, feminine beauty, authorityand wisdom coupled with outstanding service and contributions to their people. Women were essential in the advancement of humanity and civilization all over the world. For example little is known about the Blacks who ruled Hawaii, yes Africans ventured to, explored and settled throughout the Pacific Islands.

“Things your teacher never taught you in school include the birth-place of the original people of Hawaii. Their ancestral linage is shrouded in lies, assimilation, deception, murder, genocide, myth, mystery and historical manipulation. All in an attempted to deceive and cover-up the fact that indigenous Hawaiians were Black and Brown people; descendants of the ‘motherland’ whose ancestral DNA link them directly to Africa.” The last indigenous Queen of Hawaii was Black and of African ancestry, “The first Hawaiians and their royals were dark skinned with distinct African features who ruled and lived in an African-style community. That was until the forceful invasion by whites in America who ended the royal lineage after destroying the reign of Queen Lili’uokalani. She is known to be the last Black royal of Hawaii and was the first and only woman to rule her people between 1891 and 1893.”

The same is true of the African Sistahs who played pivotal roles in the liberation of Saint-Domingue (Haiti) Sistahs who did the actual fighting for independence and once the Republic was established played a major role in the life of the new nation. To pay homage to these valiant and noble women I will share just a few of their names and history and provide sources where you can get more information on them:

Suzanne Belair aka Sanite’Belair, “Sanité or Suzanne Belair’s position as fighter and wife does not appear as iconoclast as some would make it seem. Born an affranchi ( a term for a mixed race person) in Verrettes in 1781, she took up arms in defense of L’Ouverture’s Saint Domingue against Leclerc and the very real specter of reinstated slavery. She distinguished herself in combat and rose in rank to earn the title of lieutenant.  Ferocious and unrelenting, she managed several successes, but was eventually captured by the French (some sources say Dessalines, others Répussard).  Sentenced to hanging, she demanded death by firing squad with respect to her military rank—a similar death forced upon her husband. In 2004 Haiti commemorated her by adding her face to the 10 gourde banknote. She is the second woman to appear on the note after Catherine Flon.”é-belair

Cecile Fatiman, “Cécile Fatiman was a Haitian vodoo priestess born in the 18th century. On August 1791, Fatiman presided over a ceremony at the Bois Caïman in the role of mambo together with priest Dutty Boukman. Boukman prophesied that the slaves Jean François, Biassou, and Jeannot would be leaders of a resistance movement and revolt that would free the slaves of Saint-Domingue. An animal was sacrificed, an oath was taken, and Boukman and the priestess exhorted the listeners to take revenge against their French oppressors. During the ceremony, Cécile Fatiman acted as if she were possessed by the goddess Erzulie. A week later, 1800 plantations had been destroyed and 1000 slaveholders killed. It is reported that she lived to the ripe old age of 112 years old.”écile-fatiman-eca3e52da19d

Marie-Jeanne Lamartiniére, “Marie-Jeanne Lamartiniére won recognition for her bravery and heroics during one of the revolution’s most famous battles, with much at stake. Most importantly, Marie-Jeanne’s inspirational and symbolic example on the field of strife helped to unite black and mulatto fighting men in their successful war against slavery, that led to the declaration of the world’s first black republic on January 1, 1804. Marie-Jeanne was a founding mother of Haiti, and to this day, the heroic legacy of Marie-Jeanne is alive and well in the hearts and minds of the citizens of the Republic of Haiti.”

Victoria MontouVictoria Montou known as “Toya” was a fighter in Jean-Jacques Dessalines army during the Haitian Revolution. She had served as a warrior for the Empire of Dahomey in Africa before she was shipped as a slave to Haiti. She soon escaped the plantation and some report that she agreed to rescue a newborn baby and train him in battle skills she learned as a warrior in Africa. This young boy allegedly became the future leader, Dessalines.”

Hopefully this smidgeon of Black Women’s history has stimulated your interest and desire to know more about our marvelous history and herstory. We live in the “information age” where information and knowledge are at our fingertips, there is no excuse for ignorance or apathy!