has been said about Haiti and its historical context. In order to
understand the history of Haiti and the importance of the Haitian
Revolution when Haitian people proclaimed their independence on
January 1, 1804, everyone should begin reading and studying about
Haiti. We must do this in preparation for the long struggle that will
take place to rebuild this beautiful country of African people.
this time, with the multitude of challenges that face our brothers
and sisters, we must lift up our spirits and continue, with a
vengeance, the great work that is needed to restore Haiti. Far too
many African people are unfamiliar with the significance of Haiti,
the Haitian Revolution, and its impact on the world. Far too much
misinformation is being spread about Haiti and its history. The irritated genie: An essay on the Haitian Revolution, written
by our esteemed ancestor Dr. Jacob H. Carruthers, made a profound
contribution to the significance and implications of this event in
the history of African people in the world.
Jake, as we affectionately called him, was one of the leading African
Centered Scholars in the world. His book, The Irritated Genie, is
one of the most definitive books on the Haitian Revolution.
Jake spent much of his time, over a forty year period, probing the
18th and 19th century Black Nationalist
tradition and the leading thinkers, scholars, and organizers who
represented this tradition. Out of this study and research, Jake
produced the most incisive analysis in his book on the Haitian
Revolution and its implications for our on-going struggle.
the 19th century, both Black and white scholars have
written extensively about the Haitian Revolution, which began in the
summer of 1791 and ended in the fall of 1803. However, most white
scholars have relegated the Haitian Revolution as an “isolated
event” and have interpreted its meaning in the framework of
white supremacy of the western world order.
this same context, the Black scholars, who have written on this
subject, have suffered from the same problem― the problem of
accepting a European framework in their efforts to describe the
essence and meaning of this great African Revolution which took place
Carruthers addressed the concept of the “Irritated Genie”
and what it meant to the Haitian people who rose up and defeated the
so-called great military powers of the era― England, France,
an island in the Caribbean where millions of imported, kidnapped
Africans were used by the European slave trading nations to supply
their labor needs in the 15th, 16th, and 17th
centuries. As Dr. Carruthers writes, “On August 22, 1791
thousands of slaves crudely armed with stolen weapons, various tools
and torches, overran and destroyed most of the plantations and
besieged the towns of Northern Saint Dominique, the most prosperous
European colony in the world at that time.”
his book, Brother Jake informs us that “this well planned,
sustained offensive was the culmination of nearly three centuries of
periodic Black rebellions against the European settlers.”
significance of the Haitian Revolution is revealed by Brother Jake in
pointing out that the African people of Haiti successfully defeated
the top military powers of that day― Napoleon and his French
military might, Britain, and Spain. Many people are aware of the role
Toussaint L`Overture played in the Haitian Revolution, but Dr.
Carruthers unveils very clearly and concisely the leadership of
General Jean Jacques Dessalines and Bookman Dutty.
The Irritated Genie, Dr. Carruthers points out that the
Haitian Revolution “is perhaps the most underemphasized war in
what is called modern history.” The fact that many African
people are more inspired “by the Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese,
and Cuban revolutions than the one truly Black revolution in modern
history” is the reason all African people need to read this
people will probably be quick to ask the question, “If the
Haitian Revolution was so great, why is Haiti in the shape it is
today?” I must remind you that Haitian people were in need and
struggling before this devastating earthquake.
Carruthers answers this question in the following manner: “For
three centuries the crime of being Black was punished by torture,
rape, and murder. Dessalines erased that crime by executing all of
those he would find who had committed the atrocities― the true
criminals. That is why the Haitian personality is so strong today
even though most of the leaders sold them down the river after the
fall of Dessalines.”
Carruthers was the founder of the Kemetic Institute and professor at
the Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies (CCICS) of Northeastern
Illinois University (NEIU) in Chicago, where he developed as one of
the most gifted intellectuals and scholars in the African world. Any
one of hundreds of students who took his classes at CCICS, or people
who heard his numerous community or conference lectures will agree
that Dr. Jacob H. Carruthers was a profound African Deep Thinker!
we look to the days ahead, we must fortify ourselves. Read The
Irritated Genie, lift up your spirit and let your positive
healing energies flow over us all as we work to restore Haiti.