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Distributed May 31, 2004
Contact Mary Jo Curtis

Through September 2004
John Carter Brown Library presents exhibition, conference on Haiti

The John Carter Brown Library is presenting a new exhibition, The Haitian Revolution, 1789-1804, through September 2004, and an international conference, “The Haitian Revolution: Viewed 200 Years After,” June 17-20, 2004.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — In commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Haiti’s independence, the John Carter Brown Library is hosting an exhibition titled The Haitian Revolution, 1789-1804, now through September 2004.


The Haitian Liberator
Toussaint L’Ouverture (1743-1803) successfully fought for the abolition of slavery and briefly established a black-governed French protectorate in what became the nation of Haiti in 1804. From a series of engravings showing generals of the French Revolution (Paris, 1802).
[Image: The John Carter Brown Library]

The exhibition has been planned to coincide with an international conference, “The Haitian Revolution: Viewed 200 Years After,” which will be hosted and sponsored by the library June 17-20, 2004.

Prepared by historian Malick W. Ghachem of Stanford University, the exhibition features items from the John Carter Brown Library collection that illustrate major turning points in the revolution and portray its key personalities, suggesting the impact of this history in an Atlantic context. Saint-Domingue, the French colony that became Haiti, was – along with Brazil – at the center of the Atlantic slave trade in the 18th century. The colony declared its independence from France on Jan. 1, 1804, marking the culmination of the world’s largest and only successful slave revolt. The exhibition includes pamphlets, maps and prints supplemented with labels that narrate the story of the revolution as told by white colonists, diplomats, free people of color and other contemporary actors and observers.

The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, is divided into eight parts:

  • Saint-Domingue before the Revolution
  • The French Revolution and the Free People of Color (1789-1791)
  • The August 1791 Slave Revolt
  • Civil Commissions, the Free People of Color, and Abolition (1791-1793)
  • War and Occupation (1793-1798)
  • Toussaint L’Ouverture (1797-1801)
  • The War of Independence (1802-1803) and the Struggle for Recognition
  • Impact and Representations of the Revolution

The conference schedule includes two free public lectures in the Salomon Center for Teaching on The College Green. On Thursday, June 17, at 8 p.m., H.E. Jean Casimir, former ambassador of the Republic of Haiti to the United States, will speak on “From Saint-Domingue to Haiti: Vivre de nouveau ou vivre enfin” (in English). On Friday, June 18, at 8 p.m., novelist Madison Smartt Bell will discuss “The Stone That the Builder Refused.” Bell’s work includes the first two volumes of a trilogy on the Haitian Revolution, All Souls’ Rising (1995) and Master of the Crossroads (2000).

The John Carter Brown Library is an independently funded and administered institution for advanced research in the humanities, located at Brown University since 1901. The library houses one of the world's outstanding collections of books, maps and manuscripts relating to the colonial period of the Americas, North and South, from 1492 to ca. 1825. It also offers fellowships, sponsors lectures and conferences, regularly mounts exhibitions for the public, and publishes catalogues, bibliographies, facsimiles and other works that interpret the library's holdings. It is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. For more information, call (401) 863-1262.


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