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7188: Oral history if Toussaint Louverture (fwd)

From: "Gillespie, Richard" <rgillespie@towson.edu>


I would appreciate a sharing on the list of the ORAL history of Toussaint


On Sunday the 25th of February, I had the privilege of participating in a
celebration nominating Toussaint Louverture as the Man of the Millennium.
The event was organized by list member Patrick Eustache. Among the
participants were list members Max Beauvoir, Madison Bell and myself. We
each brought a different view of Toussaint to the discussion. I was limited
by my experience to the historical perceptive established by such scholars
as Thomas Madiou and H. Pauleus Sannon and reflected in my docu-novel, PAPA
TOUSSAINT. Madison enlarged the historical perceptive with the psychological
and sociological insights into the man and his times which enrich his
novels, ALL SOULS RISING and MASTER OF THE CROSSROAD. In response to a
question from the audience, Max contributed fascinating glimpses into the
oral history of Toussaint, a point-of-view I had not encountered in my
paper-dominated research into Toussaint's life.


Max has suggested, in earlier contributions to the list, that the lwa are
archetypal aspects of the collective unconscious. There seems evidence that
Toussaint is emerging in these times as an important archetype both to
Haitians and beyond. Examples are the conference organized by Patrick,
Aristide's reference to Toussaint in his inaugural address, the passion
today for writing about Toussaint - witness Madison's and my efforts among
others - and the energy in Hollywood to film his life. 

The concepts "archetype" and "collective unconscious" were invented - or
discovered - by the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung. Jung points out that for
psychological individuation to take place, healing elements in the
unconscious must rise into consciousness, and one cannot reach the
unconscious through a direct conscious effort. The elements must emerge as
myth values found in symbols, rituals, dreams and stories. Work like my PAPA
TOUSSAINT might help clarify the historical man, but it will not reveal the
archetype. Madison's work might move one closer to it. But what I gleaned
from Max's brief stories suggests a clearer path to the archetype. Max's
examples of the oral history of Toussaint had, for me, elements of James
Joyce's and Joseph Campbell's sense of the monomyth, elements that mark the
lives of all sacred heroes.


I am requesting that those of you who are repositories of the oral history
of Toussaint, share what you know with the rest of us on the list. Such a
sharing might invoke a power of Toussaint that could help Haiti move a step
closer to the world its best has always envisioned. And I certainly hope
that Max will share his wisdom in the process. 

Dick Gillespie