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Caribbean CrossingAfrican Americans and the Haitian Emigration Movement$
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Sara Fanning

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780814764930

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814764930.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Caribbean Crossing

Sara Fanning

NYU Press

This introductory chapter argues that both Haitian and African American leaders actively promoted Haiti as a quintessentially black nation. Haitian leaders did so by codifying the concept in the nation's constitution and also by other words and deeds. At independence, Haiti identified itself by color, declaring in Article 14 of its constitution, “Haitians henceforth will be known by the generic name of blacks.” All inhabitants, regardless of skin color, would be considered “black,” suggesting an open and inclusive black identity. The constitution also outlawed all white landownership, indicating a color consciousness and a desire to keep whites from the island. Around the same time, members of the African American community began looking to the Caribbean island and embracing color as an identifier. This choice, just as in Haiti, was a strategy to unify against white oppression and racism.

Keywords:   Haiti, African American community, black nation, black identity, white oppression, racism

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