Book Reviews: Recent Historical Scholarship

The Black Atlantic Resource presents reviews of two of the most recent publications which expand understandings of U.S. African-American relationships with Haitians and their revolutionary history:

Millery Polyné, From Douglass to Duvalier: U.S. African Americans, Haiti, and Pan Americanism, 1870–1964, 2010 (University Press of Florida: Gainesville)

From Douglass to Duvalier is an important new work, situated in the ‘emerging field of Hemispheric American Studies’, which presents new approaches to the role of Haiti in African-American consciousness.  This work moves through a number of chronologically ordered case studies which demonstrate U.S. – Haitian African American relations, between the late nineteenth and mid-twentieth century. Polyné considers intra-racial interactions between these two groups to “have been central to the spirit of the pan-American movement because  

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Maurice Jackson and Jacqueline Bacon (eds) African Americans and the Haitian Revolution: Selected Essays and Historical Documents, 2010 (Routledge: London and New York)

Jackson and Bacon’s edited volume is a collection of recent work which provides key contextualisation of African Americans interaction with the Haitian Revolution from the late eighteenth to the twentieth century. These essays and case-studies presented as a collection are so compelling because stylistically mirroring the historical ebb and flow of ideas across ‘porous borders’, the works in this volume converse with each other. They present a variety of evidence which unarguably attests to the enduring influence which Haiti has and continues to have on the actions and consciousness of African-Americans. From Toussaint inspired soldiers fighting the American Civil War while singing ‘La Marseillaise’ to

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